Wintertime can be tough on pets. Some people keep cats and dogs inside year-round, but the dog must be walked regardless of weather. Keep in mind that when you feel cold, your pet probably does as well. It’s up to you to be aware of the animal’s needs and behavior, so that you provide everything that is required to keep your pet warm and safe this winter.
5 Keys to Keeping Your Pet Warm This Winter
Know How Your Pet Responds to Cold
Animals react to winter weather in different ways. German shepherds and other large dogs actually seem to enjoy snowy conditions. At the other extreme, a cat or Chihuahua doesn’t have enough body mass to retain heat well. You’ll need to take special care to keep these smaller animals worm. Acclimating any animal to chilly weather each fall will help because it stimulates the fur to grow.
Protecting Pets Outdoors
The outdoors is especially challenging for pets in wintertime. Put a sweater on your dog, and use an ointment or gel to protect paws from freezing. It’s also wise to keep pets away from ice because they can slip and get hurt just like people do.
Pets come with their own natural fur coats to keep them warm. Once the temperature really drops, don’t give a cat or dog a full bath if you can avoid it. Having a damp coat will cause heat loss and may make an animal sick. Don’t cut or shave a pet’s fur during the winter. You’ll be removing the insulation that nature provides.
After a walk or other outdoor excursion, your pet may be wet or soiled. Clean paws and wash the belly area as necessary to remove road salt and other chemicals. Once that’s done, use a towel or hair dryer to dry your pet off.
Sheltering Your Pet
If your pet stays outside, he or she needs a shelter to stay warm. A garage with the garage door closed is ideal. Your pet will be out of the wind, snow and rain. He or she will still need a pet bed with a blanket or cushion. If you do use a garage, install a pet door. That way, you don’t need to leave the garage door open or unlocked. Also, check with a garage door company like Shank Door if your garage door is not insulated enough to keep your pet warm inside.
Winter weather patterns vary based on where you live. Some northern states spend most of the winter months buried in snow. Southern locales may not see freezing temperatures all year long. There’s no universal formula for keeping a pet warm and safe in wintertime. The prudent course is to talk to your veterinarian. He or she can tell you how to protect a pet from the winter weather in your area.