For many pets winter is not a particular time of year that they look forward too. Many pets like to spend their days warming in the sun or frolicking in the back yards of their parents, but during the winter months many pets are not prepared for the below normal temperatures or the shorter hours of daylight. This winter season there a just a few things pet parents need to remember.
First, fur isn’t always perfect. As perfect as our pet’s coat looks; sometimes it is not the best insulator in the cold winter. Winter usually means there will be rain or snow. When our pets get wet, it causes the insulation of their coats to diminish and our pets will get cold. Pet parents also need to remember that the shorter your pet’s coat, the less likely your pet is able to keep warm, which can be harmful to the health of our pets. To help your little guys retain heat, try to avoid giving them haircuts during the colder months (or just a trim), offer them a sweater or a warm towel or blanket to come back inside to and please, after letting them outside to relieve themselves or post-exercise, always bring them back inside promptly. You have to remember that pets have exposed skin (paw pads, nose & ears) that are sensitive to extreme cold temperatures and windchill. If you’re not cautious they can get frostbite or worse, suffer from hypothermia when the temperature drops suddenly. Try this simple rule ‘if it is too cold for you without a coat or jacket, it’s probably too cold for your pet.’
Second, remember the needs of your pet. According to the Humane Society of the U.S., “Pets who spend a lot of time outdoors need more food in the winter because keeping warm depletes energy.” A way to keep your pet needs balanced is through their diet. Be sure that you feed your pet regular meals each day and always give them fresh water. Overfeeding or underfeeding can complicate your pets health and how much energy they have to sustain and generate warmth internally.
Third, remember that the age of your pet is a big factor in how they will handle the winter season. Puppies and kittens, as well as older dogs and cats do not have the body fat, metabolism, or fur coats to handle the outside weather. During this winter season puppies, kittens, older dogs and older cats should be kept indoors where the temperature can be regulated. Monitor their outside time and if you’re using doggy doors you may want to consider securing them when they are in to avoid your pet getting out in the snow or rain without supervision. This is more work for the pet parent but the security of your pet is not to be taken lightly. If your cat is an outdoor/indoor pet, consider training them to use a litter box as an alternative during the winter months.
Fourth, guarantee that what you do to prepare your own home during the winter isn’t endangering your pets. In places where there is snow many people throw rock salt on the ground or use chemicals to help melt the snow, which can hurt our pet’s paws. Make sure to wipe your pet’s paws with a warm towel when they are brought back inside, so the pads of their paws do not become irritated. It is important to note that pets love warm insulated places to sleep so do not allow your feline friends to sleep cold, damp places. They are notorious for going in and around the car to sleep. Always stay aware of the possibility and if they’re missing please do a sweep of the vehicle before starting the engine. Pet parents must also be careful about Anti-freeze this winter season. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center is your best resource for any animal poison-related emergency, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If you think your pet may have ingested a potentially poisonous substance, call (888) 426-4435.
Written by: Briahna Solares for the 50 Plus Report
Source: www.humanesociety.com www.vetmedicine.com www.webmd.com