As the colder months approach, most homeowners insulate their houses, pull out the cardigans and sweaters they’ve been keeping in storage, and see to it that their heating system is functioning well. It’s easy for a lot of people to adjust to the season when the temperatures start dropping. However, domesticated pets may not be able to do that without your help.
Like humans, pets can also feel the cold, which means you’ll need to prepare them for the upcoming winter. Even if your pets are naturally equipped to tolerate the natural changes in the environment, they shouldn’t be subjected to extreme cold.
Fortunately, keeping your pets safe and warm during the cold months can be simple and manageable as long as you know the right steps to take. Here are a few of the things you can do to accomplish just that:
- Bundle Up
Most of you would automatically put on your thick coats and sweaters once the colder months come around, but it’s recommended that you do the same for your pets. Whether your pet has thick fur or not, low temperatures can still threaten their health or even their life. The skin in their ears, paws, and noses is at risk of hypothermia and frostbite if exposed to the cold, even for short periods.
To keep your furry friends protected during walks outdoors, consider investing in some warm clothes for your dog, such as jackets, sweaters, and coats that cover their backs, chests, and tails. Make sure to dress them up properly before letting them step out into the cold. Their winter wardrobe won’t only keep them warm during outdoor activities but also reduce their risk of experiencing cold-related health issues.
- Look After Their Paws
As mentioned, your pet’s tail, ears, and legs are most prone to hypothermia and frostbite. If you wish to take them out for a walk, make sure to keep the duration short or head outside when the sun’s at its warmest. Moreover, it’s important to pay extra attention to your pet’s paws before taking them outside. You can use booties to protect their paws from ice melts. It’s common for pets to lick their paws after walking outdoors, which means the harmful chemicals from the ice could easily be transferred to their mouth, making them sick.
In case your pet refuses to wear booties, wipe their paws with a clean and dry towel immediately after your walk. If you saw your pet step on areas with salted ice, rinse their paws when you get home to avoid skin irritation and other adverse side effects.
- Keep Them On A Leash
Perhaps you’re used to giving your pet a lot of off-leash time during the warm season. Dogs in particular love to play and run about outside, especially in spring and summer when the weather’s friendly. But as much as you’d love to give them more freedom outdoors, it may not be a good idea to take them off their leash when it’s cold. The winter season naturally comes with hazards, making most outdoor areas dangerous for your pet to be in.
For instance, colder months mean more frozen lakes and rivers. These spots may be remarkable to see, but they pose risks for your pets. Some bodies of water may not be solid frozen enough, so your pet might fall into the water if they’re not on a leash.
Aside from that, roads covered in thick snow make it harder for some drivers to spot small creatures crossing the street. Thus, it’s best to keep your pet leashed while outdoors until winter’s finally over. It’s also best if you used a reflective or light-up collar and leash to keep them visible even on a snowy night.
- Adjust Your Pet’s Diet
Some pets tend to be less active during the cold months. That’s because less time outdoors equates to less playtime. If you notice that your pet’s activity level during the cold season has drastically changed, you also need to tweak their diet.
Since they’re not getting as much physical activity as before, you’ll need to reduce their calorie intake to prevent them from gaining weight, which can eventually lead to obesity. If you’re unsure about the changes you should make, ask your vet to help you create a diet plan specifically for winter.
- Provide Them With A Cozy Bed
Your pets are part of your family, so they also deserve their own space or shelter like everyone else in the household. Under no circumstances should you leave your pets outdoors during cold seasons. Instead, designate an area inside the house where you can set up their own bed with cozy blankets and other winter accessories.
Your pet’s bed must be big enough for them to move comfortably but small enough to preserve their body heat. Then, when feeding your pet, always use plastic water and food bowls to prevent their tongues from sticking to the surface, which can happen with metal bowls.
The cold months can be fun and relaxing for everyone, including your pets. However, that’s only possible if you help them properly prepare for the shift in seasons. So take note of the steps above, and don’t forget to give your pets some warm cuddles at the end of the day.