With the winter season upon us, it is important to make sure you - as well as your fur babies - are protected from the elements!
Here are a few tips to make sure your pets are comfortable during the colder weather:
Dogs still need to go outside for walks and frequent exercise but should never be left out for extended periods of time. Even dogs with a thicker coat are still at risk with excessive exposure to the cold. It is best that cats aren’t let outside, even if they normally go outside in warmer months. If your dog has to be outside for a short amount of time, make sure they have a warm, dry, draft-free shelter that is raised from the ground. It is also important to check that they always have fresh water supply.
Hypothermia and frostbite are always a risk for dogs that go outside in the cold weather. Many styles of coats or sweaters are available for your dog to wear when they go outside. Make sure they are comfortable in their winter gear and it is not too constricting. Late morning or early afternoon can be a good time for outdoor exercise as there may be more sunlight and warmth during this time. It is also a good idea for them to have a pair of boots to wear if they are going to be exposed to salt as this can cause injury to their paws. After being outside, you can always wipe down or wash your pet's paws, legs or belly to reduce any leftover salt residue. You can use a warm wet washcloth or a pre-moistened pet wipe. Coconut oil is a good natural moisturizer that can help keep your pet’s skin moisturized. If you find your pet’s paws, ears or tail are dry or cracking, you can apply coconut oil topically as needed.
Be Aware of Health Conditions
Colder winter weather can aggravate certain health conditions like Arthritis, especially in senior dogs. You may want to introduce a dog health supplement to your pet's diet. CBD Oil and glucosamine supplements are popular choices for alleviating dog’s symptoms of arthritis and joint pain. It is also important to be cautious when going for walks as there may be an increased risk of injury for senior pets due to the weather conditions.
You can make an easy cat shelter with a rubbermaid bin with a hole cut out of the side and straw for shelter during the cold weather. Also, you may want to leave some food or water out for cats that are hungry and may be outside without enough food.
If you see an animal who is not adequately being cared for or is left out in the cold for too long, let the owner know you are concerned about their pet. If issues are not addressed, it is important to report the neglect to your local animal welfare organization. Animals can’t speak for themselves so sometimes they need a little help.
Hopefully, these tips will help to keep your pets safe and warm this winter.
-- by Katie Nixon
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***Please see your vet before administering any kind of medication or supplements.***