Welcome Winter!

It’s December, and winter weather is here! It may be dark and cold outside, but you can keep your pet happy and warm through the long winter months. As we head into this chilly season, we’d like to share a few tips for keeping pets safe and healthy through the winter:  

·         Staying warm. The most obvious fact about winter is that it’s cold outside. For this reason, it’s best to keep pets mainly indoors. When going outside for walks, keep short-haired pets warm with sweaters, coats, and booties. Even for thick-coated breeds, their fur alone is not enough to keep them warm outside on cold winter days. If a pet must live primarily outside, be sure to provide adequate shelter where they can get away from the cold, such as a heated garage or insulated dog house with plenty of blankets and/or straw. If the pet’s water supply is outdoors, use a heated water bowl so it cannot freeze solid. Outdoor pets also need to eat more during cold weather because they use more calories keeping themselves warm. 

·         Beware of winter weight. While outdoor pets need more calories in the winter, the opposite is true for indoor pets, as they tend to be less active. Adjust the amount of food your pets gets as needed to accommodate the less active months. More indoor play can also help pets stay fit and trim.  

·         Antifreeze is highly toxic to dogs and cats. Watch for any spills or leaks, and keep your pets away from these areas. Also consider switching to a product that uses Propylene Glycol instead of Ethylene Glycol, as this is less toxic (although not harmless).

·         Salt on sidewalks and roads can be irritating to paws. When walking outside, avoid highly salted areas and always towel off your pet’s feet and belly after walks. Another option is to have your dog wear booties on walks to avoid cold and salt exposure.

·         Outdoor cats often seek warmth under car hoods. To avoid turning the engine on while the cat under the hood, get into the habit of tapping on the hood a few times before getting in the car – this will wake up any sleeping cats and give them a chance to get out safely.  

·         Holiday decorations, although festive, can pose a danger to pets. Keep any electric wires and candles out of reach. Ornaments can also be a risk for foreign bodies if ingested. Tinsel and other string-like decorations are especially dangerous to cats.

We wish everyone a warm and cozy winter - for both you and your pets. Please let us know if you have any questions about winter safety or the health of your furry family members.   

Sources cited: humanesociety.org, ASPCA.org, photographyblogger.net