When the weather outside is frightful, follow these tips to keep your furry companions safe during the harsh winter months.
- Don't Shave Off Their Coat
Imagine how cold you'd be if you stepped outside in 30 degree weather without a coat. That's exactly how your pet will feel if you shave them to the skin during the winter. Keep them warm by foregoing regular grooming visits. If you own a short-haired breed, check out these fashionable winter coats, most of which are under $10.
- Wipe 'Em Down
Dangerous chemicals sprinkled on sidewalks, like antifreeze, can accidentally be ingested by pets. Snow and ice-encrusted paws may also cause bleeding. Wipe your pet's legs, paws, and stomach thoroughly each time you come in on a particularly heavy snow or ice day. Also consider investing in some dog shoes to protect their paws against the frigid winter ground.
- Increase Food Portions
If your pet spends more time outdoors, make sure to increase his or her calorie intake. Pets need additional food to sustain healthy body temperature. Consult your veterinarian to decide the appropriate amount of food increase.
- Keep Tags Current
While we never hope our furry companions get lost, it is especially important during the winter that pet tags are current. It's harder for pets to recognize scents masked by heavy snowfall and ice. Unlike the warmer months, pets left roaming alone without food or water in the winter increases risks of hypothermia and other fatal conditions. Consider also including a good contact number on your pet's tags.
- Avoid Ponds and Large Bodies of Water
If you live near a lake or pond that tends to freeze during the winter, make sure your pet stays on a leash. Pets can easily fall through the ice, making it nearly impossible for them to escape or be rescued by humans. This horrific scenario can be avoided completely by always keeping them on a leash at a safe distance from the water.
- Avoid Leaving Pets in Cars
In the winter, idle cars act as refrigerators, potentially chilling pets left unattended. Younger and older pets are particularly sensitive to such low temperatures. Limit car travel if possible and never leave your pets alone in cars without heat.