Winter season and pet care
The winter season is somewhat magical. The ground is white, the houses seem warm with the festive season, and everyone wants to stay indoors. Even so, winter comes with some bitter coldness and numbing wetness with all this magic. Therefore, you would need to protect your pets in winter.
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You must be careful, especially when taking care of your four-legged friends. First, you do not want to find your puppy with frostbite because they were exposed to cold drafts overnight. Second, you would not wish to see your pet burnt as they try to get some warmth from the furnace.
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Here are a few tips for keeping your pets safe in winter.
How to Protect Animals in the Winter Season
Winter can be rough on your pets, just as it is tough on you. Sometimes, you can forget that not all pets can adapt to cold temperatures. Dogs and cats also like warm places, and you are the person who decides whether they enjoy the indoor warmth or stay outside in the cold.
Some winter pet safety tips include:
1. Always keep your pet sheltered
Some pets indeed enjoy spending time outside. But that is only favorable when the weather is conducive. You do not want to leave your dog or cat outside for too long during the cold winters.
Even though dogs are at their happiest when they roam around and exercise, you should not let them wander off in the cold for long. Remember, if it is cold for you outside, it is even worse for your pet.
If your dog stays outside for any reason, you should provide a draft-free shelter to keep them comfortable. Find a small house to keep the pet’s body heat at the ideal level, but large enough to let them move freely. Plus, make sure that the housing is lifted a few inches off the ground.
Besides that, you must provide some bedding. Cedar shavings and straws are the best options, as they are comfortable. Another dog snow safety tip is to ensure that the doorway in the doghouse has waterproof material to keep away any moisture from your pup.
2. Keep your pet warm
Another essential winter pet safety tip is to ensure that you always keep your furry friend warm at all times. Your pet will avoid the cold the best they can, but you can help them stay warm during the cold season.
You could consider getting them pet sweaters, especially if you have an animal with a thin coat. When going outside for a stroll or a walk, make sure you keep them warm. Moreover, if you have a furnace in the house, be sure you provide enough room to keep your pet warm without risking burning off their fur.
When you get back home from your walk, remember to wipe down your pet’s fur to remove any moisture. This is crucial to help your pet retain some of its body heat and keep warm while eliminating the risk of hypothermia.
3. Pay attention to the pet’s feet
Caring for your pets in winter calls for more than a regular walk, some food, and water. Part of the winter pet safety tips includes paying more attention to their surroundings and ensuring that they are not in the cold for too long.
That alone is not enough because you can cover up the pet but still leave some areas like the paw, nose, and ears exposed. So, when you come back from your walk, wipe off the snow or water on the pet’s paws to prevent frostbite and hypothermia.
4. Just trim, don’t cut
When it is cold, you often go into your closet and get the warmest jacket you can get. Since pets do not have such luxury, they protect themselves with a fur coat they grow during the year. So, when you are grooming them, remember that fur will keep them warm in the winter.
Let them keep warm with the fur rather than shaving your dog to the skin. Besides, it’s best to groom your pet when the summer season comes.
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5. Pet baths? Not too often
Taking a bath is refreshing and all, but as soon as you are out of the warm water, you get cold quickly. Pets experience the same challenges, but relatively worse because their fur tends to retain more moisture than your skin.
So, whenever you bathe your dog or cat—once you take them out of the bath, there’s always the concern of leaving them exposed to the cold air. However, you can protect your pet in winter by cutting down on the number of baths they have. Besides, they won’t be going out as often, so it is a reasonable compromise.
6. Keep them away from poisonous material
Winter comes with a lot of merry and more poisonous materials for your pets. Antifreeze is an excellent example of such toxins. Yes, it serves an essential purpose in the lives of humans, but it is deadly to pets. Also, it has a sweet taste that attracts pets and children, putting them at risk. When putting antifreeze in your engine, wipe off any spillage and keep it out of reach.
Christmas decorations are not safe for pets either. Decorative plants like poinsettia and holly can be hazardous when ingested.
Another harmful chemical for your pet is rock salt. Whenever you come back from a walk, make sure to wipe off your pet’s paws to remove residues of rock salt. Most pets like to lick their paws, and any rock salt could be deadly to them.
7. Pay attention to outdoor animals
Car engines tend to be like a haven for outdoor animals. You will find your pet hiding under your car to try and get as much heat from your engine as possible. When you are about to leave, make sure you check around your vehicle to avoid running over your pet.
If you have a pet horse, covering them up with a blanket can help keep them warm during the cold seasons.
8. Give your pet enough food
A helpful tip for keeping your pet safe and happy during the winter is offering them enough food. Your dog or cat will need more food to generate the heat and energy they need to pull through the cold season.
However, be careful not to give them fatty foods that increase their risk of getting pancreatitis. Also, avoid unhealthy foods like chocolate, grapes, and peaches.
Give your pet enough water to keep them hydrated. That said, you ought to avoid using metal containers when you do so because they can quickly cool the water to very low temperatures.
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Exercises to Keep Your Pet Happy During Winter
Being locked indoors by a blizzard or heaps of snow on the driveway does not mean you have to be sad. You can still enjoy some fun activities with your pet while helping them exercise and remain active.
Use your pet toys to encourage them to move around to lower the risk of weight gain. You can also schedule a pet playdate and set some time for you and your pet to recharge.
Pet care takes a new level of dedication during the cold season. You need to be aware of their surroundings and keep an eye on them. Pets with health conditions like arthritis should be in warm places at all times. In a nutshell, you should not leave any animal out in the cold for too long. The winter pet safety tips listed above will help you keep your dog or cat happy in the winter while enjoying the merry that comes with the season.
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