Winter is a time for cozying up and our pets are no exception. When the temperatures drop and the ground is covered with snow, pet parents will need to adjust their pet's daily routine to ensure their safety until spring arrives.
Here are some of our winter pet care ideas to help you and your pet have a wonderful winter!
Keep an eye on your pet when they're outside, and make sure they have access to an enclosed refuge with enough food and water if they're going to be out for a lengthy period. Blankets and thick towels are excellent ways to warm up your furry friend after being outside.
RESTRICT OUTDOORS TIME
You should minimize their time outside, including walks, to protect yourself and your pet from weather-related threats. Even long-haired breeds known for enjoying the cold might suffer if exposed for an extended amount of time. Short-haired breeds are more susceptible to temperature changes, and smaller pets, who are closer to the snow are affected by the cold temperatures much faster.
It's also safer to stroll or play during the day since darkness makes it difficult to spot dangers. If you must go outside at night, using LED collars, hi-vis leashes, and jackets can help you and your pet stand out.
Your dog's fur will normally keep them warm when they're out and about, but pets with thin coats, as well as those that are older or not as healthy, may be more vulnerable to the cold. You may want to give you're your pooch or kitty a winter coat to keep them warm during cold walks.
You should inspect their paws on a regular basis for any signs of harm, such as cracked pads or bleeding. After spending time outside, fully dry their feet, legs, and stomach to help remove snow, road salt, and other debris.
Dog booties also protect your pet from possibly harmful substances such as antifreeze and deicers (including road salt). While some deicers are labelled as pet-friendly, the majority are not. If your pet licks any chemicals off their fur, they may become ill.
Cats often seek shelter beneath cars in cold and rainy weather, they may even leap under the hood to take advantage of a warm engine. Always check for visitors who may have gotten inside or beneath the hood before starting up your car.
Even if you're for the most part sheltering your pet inside during the cold months, they can still be vulnerable to the elements; here are some things you can do to help them cope with the cold.
KEEP THEM COMFORTABLE
Additional blankets for their bed help keep your pet warm and comfortable during the winter months. You can lift the bed off the ground along with the extra blankets for warmth and comfort. However, don't raise the bed too high; you might be making it too difficult for older dogs and cats that have sore joints.
ENSURE THEY'RE ACTIVE
Your pet will still require exercise and mental stimulation to keep them happy; remember, a bored pet may develop behavioural problems. Purchase new toys and play with them on a regular basis, especially if they aren't out as much during the winter. Try to play with your cat during dawn and dusk, as this is when they are most energetic.
VULNERABLE PETS' SAFETY
Cold weather may be challenging for both elderly and younger pets -as well as ones with underlying ailments- because it is not so easy for them to regulate their body temperature. It's important to keep up a good exercise routine during the winter without overexerting your pet.
Furthermore, you should be cautious with them as they may become weary more quickly and exhibit signs of pain. Rigidity, licking certain joints, difficulty climbing or descending stairs, eating slowly, and noticeable behavioural changes are only a few of the signs.
GENERAL WINTER SAFETY
Many pets get lost in the winter because snow and ice can cover up scents that might otherwise assist your pet when they are finding their way home. A well-fitting collar with current contact information is surely the best option. You should also microchip and register your pet with your local municipality's Animal Services.
Lower temperatures may aggravate some medical conditions, including arthritis. Also, pets with diabetes or heart disease may have difficulties managing their body temperature in the cold, so it's very important to take your pet to the veterinarian if there are any issues.
To remain on top of any possible health concerns, most adult pets should have a yearly wellness check, and senior pets should have a bi-annual wellness visit.
All in all, the best winter care tip we can offer you is to pay attention to your pet and give them lots of love; nothing beats cuddling to keep your pet happy. We wish you a great and pleasant winter season!
If your furry friend displays signs of discomfort, changes in behaviour, or any other symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately.
This article provides a summary view of some aspects you need to know about pets and how to protect them during the winter months. We recommend you take the time to talk in detail with one of our licensed veterinarians. They will provide the best suggestions and strategies for your pet. For an appointment please contact us at (416) 351-1212.