Most pet owners know that winter brings with it a whole host of safety risks for their pets and additional things they need to be aware of. Through utilizing winter tips for dogs and cats, you can make sure that you are helping your pet stay happy and healthy all winter long. Here are ten winter tips for dogs and cats that will help you out.
#1. Provide Outdoor Shelter
If you let your pet outside, it’s essential that you give them shelter so that they can have a protected space to go to that will keep them sheltered from drafts and snow while still being able to be outside.
#2. Ensure They Have A Warm Sleeping Area
Floors can get very cold in the winter, so you want to make sure that you provide your pet with a nice warm space they can snuggle up in.
#3. Check Your Car Before You Drive
Cats allowed outside will often gravitate towards cars for warmth and shelter. Before starting your car, check your tires for any cats resting on top of them, and knock on the hood, to get any animals hiding under it to move away. You may also honk your horn, as the sound will startle any animals hiding under your car that you might not be able to see away.
#4. Adjust Their Diet
You’ll want to make sure that you’re adjusting your pet’s food according to their needs, which may change in the winter. If you allow your cat outside in the winter, you may increase the lean protein in order to account for the necessary boost in calories since they’ll burn more from heightened activity and trying to stay warm. Conversely, if you keep your pet inside, they might need less food in the winter in order to prevent weight gain.
#5. Provide Fresh Water Daily
Frozen water is not fresh water. Check your pet’s water boals daily to ensure that they have good, fresh water to keep them hydrated. Eating snow can lower your pet’s internal temperature and won’t give them enough to keep them from getting dehydrated. Without fresh water, your pet may be tempted to drink from puddles or gutters, where they could end up ingesting antifreeze and other harmful chemicals.
You may consider an electric water bowl or one that is deeper and thicker, to help keep water from freezing.
#6. Research How Long Is OK For Them To Be Outside
Before letting your dog or cat out, check the weather, including the wind chill factor. It may be too cold for them to go out. One of the biggest dangers winter brings with it for pets is the low temperatures, so you want to ensure that your pet isn’t outside for too long, as this can lead to frostbite or hypothermia.
Signs of frostbite include skin that stays cold and is pale or gray, pain when you try to touch your pet’s ears or paws, and in severe cases, blackening of affected areas. Signs of hypothermia include a lack of appetite, shivering, a weak pulse, and lethargy. If you notice any signs of frostbite or hypothermia, contact your veterinarian immediately.
#7. Towel Dry When They Come In
Changes in temperature can make your cat have itchy skin when they come from the cold outside to the warm interior of your home. Drying them with a towel will help to prevent this. You’ll also want to pay special attention to your pet’s paws. Salt and other ice melts can be irritating to the pads of your pet’s paws, so wiping them off when they come inside will help keep them in good condition.
#8. Be Very Careful With Antifreeze
Antifreeze is poison to pets, so one of the most essential winter tips for dogs and cats is to make sure that your antifreeze is stored and secured properly, so that your pet can’t get into it. You also want to make sure that your car isn’t leaking any, so that your pet doesn’t end up ingesting it.
#9. Be Prepared
You never know what winter might bring with it or when you may end up being snowed in. Preparation is one of the best winter tips for dogs and cats, as making sure your have extra food and can handle whatever the weather may bring will help stave off potential issues that could be avoided with extra preparation.
Do You Want To Learn More Winter Tips For Dogs And Cats?
Borrett Animal Hospital wants to help you keep your pet safe, happy, and healthy all winter long. We can provide you with additional winter tips for dogs and cats, as well as other pets and large animals. For any questions, please contact us at Borrett Animal Hospital today!