How to Keep Your Pets Safe this Winter
If you’re a pet owner, you know that your pets are bona fide (or bona fido) members of your family. And as a pet parent, you know how important it is to keep your family safe and comfortable.
The winter months bring harsh weather in many parts of the country, and for some pets, these cold conditions are tough to withstand. But there are some simple things you can do to keep your pet happy and healthy all winter long.
Never shave your dog’s coat during the winter. If your dog has long hair, trim the ends to prevent snowballs and ice-melt from clinging to his fur. If your dog has short hair, consider getting him a sweater or coat with a high collar for outdoor excursions.
Beware of chemicals
After taking your pet for a walk, wipe down her feet and stomach to remove ice, salt, and chemicals. Keep an eye out for redness, cracking, or bleeding skin. Not only can winter substances cause irritation; some can be toxic if consumed. Booties can prevent these chemicals from getting stuck in your pet’s paws, protecting your pet from irritation and poisoning.
An even more dangerous substance is antifreeze, which is a lethal poison to cats and dogs. Antifreeze has a sweet taste, which means your pet is likely to lap it up should it be spilled. Make sure you keep antifreeze well out of your pet’s reach and clean up spills immediately.
Though it’s tempting to take your furry best friends with you wherever you go, whatever the season, it’s often wise to leave them at home in cold weather. Dogs and cats are just as susceptible to hypothermia and frostbite as people are.
Make sure your pet doesn’t spend too much time outside in freezing temperatures; if it’s too cold for you to stay outside, it’s too cold for your pet. Never leave your dog or cat outdoors during the winter.
Cars can also present danger in cold weather. Just as rapidly as they heat up in the summer, cars cool down in the winter. Limit the time your pet spends in the car, and never leave your pet in the car unattended.
For both your pet’s safety and your own, be cautious of ice when walking your dog. Look out for black ice on roads and sidewalks, and stay away from frozen bodies of water.
If winter’s long nights mean you have to walk your dog in the dark, keep him on a short leash right by your side, and make sure both of you wear reflective gear.
Watch their weight
Make sure that your pet maintains a healthy weight through the winter. It’s not necessary for your pet to put on extra weight to keep warm; in fact, the health risks associated with weight gain usually outweigh the benefits. But some pets require more calories to maintain their body temperature and therefore more food to maintain their weight during the winter. And as always, be sure to feed your pet nutritious foods and avoid unsafe ones.
Before extreme weather strikes, make sure you include your pets in your emergency plan. Have enough food, water, and medication on hand to last your pet at least five days. Also make sure your pet has a cozy place to sleep during cold weather, which can be as simple as adding an extra blanket to his bed.
By following these simple guidelines, you and your pet are sure to have a healthy and happy winter. At ZenLyfe, we have your safety in mind. Our goal is to make it easy for you to stay safe so that you can enjoy your life to the fullest. For more tips on keeping your whole family safe this winter, follow our blog!