When temperatures drop, pet care needs change. Don’t miss these five winter pet safety tips:
1. Keep pets indoors: If it’s too cold outside for you, it’s too cold for your pet. Severe cold puts pets at risk for frostbite and hypothermia. If for some reason a dog must be left outside during the day, proper shelter should be provided that protects your dog from the elements. Pets are happiest and safest during the winter months when they’re indoors with their families.
2. Consider a sweater: If your dog is sick, frail, or getting older, a sweater or a jacket can sometimes be helpful with keeping in body heat when venturing outdoors for a walk. Just be sure the sweater fits well and there aren’t any dangling pieces that could be choking hazards.
3. Wipe down your dog’s paws after walks: Pets are at risk for picking up ice, rock salt, antifreeze, and other chemicals on their footpads. It’s important to wipe off your pup’s paws after walks to prevent ingestion of chemicals and to ensure footpads don’t become raw or chapped.
4. Keep a lookout for neighborhood cats: Your kitty is hopefully being kept safe and warm inside, but other cats in the neighborhood may not be so lucky. Cats often seek warmth under the hoods of cars or in wheel wells. Knock on the hood of your car before starting it to make sure no neighborhood felines are in danger.
5. Make arthritic pets comfortable: Cold temperatures can worsen joint pain for pets with arthritis. Make an appointment with your pet’s vet to discuss arthritis supplements or prescription medications for worsening pain. Also, make sure your pet has a comfortable and warm place to rest indoors, protected from any drafts.