As winter weather sets in and temperatures drop, it’s important to remember that if it’s too cold outside for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet as well.
Freezing, dry skin and hazardous chemicals are just some of the dangers that pets face when they go outside during frigid temperatures. Here are some tips from the ASPCA and the Humane Society of the United States to keep your pets safe this winter:
- Aside from letting them outdoors for bathroom breaks or exercise, pets should remain indoors and shouldn’t be left outside for extended periods of time during the winter. They also should not be left alone in a car, as they can act as a refrigerator and hold in the cold, causing animals to freeze to death.
- Make sure your pets don’t come into contact with hazardous materials such as antifreeze, which has a sweet taste that could attract animals. If you spill antifreeze or any other chemical, clean it immediately. Products that contain propylene glycol are less harmful to pets, rather than ethylene glycol.
- If you have a long-haired dog, don’t shave it short during the winter as the longer fur helps to keeo them warm.
- Petroleum jelly massaged into your pets’ paws before going outside can help to protect them from salt and other chemicals.
- Towel dry your pet when it comes inside to avoid dry, itchy skin. Using a damp towel on your pets’ paws can also help remove salt and other chemicals that can irritate their feet.
- If you have a short-haired dog, or a dog that’s small and/or older, consider buying them a coat or sweater with a high collar and coverage from the base of the tail to the stomach.
- Feeding your pet a bit more than usual during the winter months can help restore nutrients as calories are burned trying to keep warm outside.
- Make sure your pets are up-to-date on their annual checkups, as cold weather can make certain medical conditions such as arthritis worse.
- Remember that small animals such as cats are attracted to warm shelters such as the engines of parked cars. Bang on your car’s hood to scare animals away before you start the car, and check the space above the wheels as they like to hide out there as well.
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