Winter-Wise Weather Tips for Pets
Dear me it is Wednesday again! That three day weekend we had and the snow and ice storm has me spinning in circles. We were inside, all five of us for a three day weekend. One of those days we were without any electricity for the better part of the day. Made for some serious family time let me tell ya.
I am so thankful for the ninety pound furry guy that is the sixth family member here. He can really put the calm on a situation especially for me when my anxiety is flying high. During the weekend’s snow and ice storm I was taking him out on his leash for fear that he could fall and break a bone. Vet bills can get crazy expensive quick so I figured it best be be cautious. Plus, Rhody is a large dog who will be seven this July. He is fit as a puppy which is why the concern for the snow and ice. He thinks nothing of taking off like a jackrabbit through the yard on a snowy day. He LIVES for the snow!
I thought it would be helpful to share some tips for pets during the winter months. Sometimes it’s best to have a gentle reminder. We rely on our furry loved ones for cuddles and companionship and want to keep them safe and warm during this especially cold and icy time of year.
Manage outdoor activities.
The safest, most comfortable place for your pets is where you are. When temperatures dip below freezing or during severe weather, it’s imperative you keep pets indoors with you and make trips outside shorter. Common sense, but if you let the dog out for a minute and get distracted, they might not remember to make their outside trip quick!
Offer a warm place for your pet to rest inside.
A pet bed works perfectly, just make sure it stays clean and dry.
Don’t cut your dog’s fur in the wintertime.
Your pet’s winter coat is a natural barrier from the harsh, cold elements. This burns me up so much. I see pet owner’s shave their dogs fur short in the summer and short in the winter. They need that fur! A pet’s fur knows how to adjust with the temperatures. Let it be.
Consider a canine coat.
Dogs with lots of fur probably don’t need an extra layer to go on walks in the winter. But smaller dogs and those with shorter coats may be more comfortable in a dog sweater or jacket.
Check for frostbite.
After bathroom breaks and walks, check your pet’s ears, paws and tail for any sign of frostbite or ice and snow build up in the paw pads. Rhody is a long haired dog and when the snow is wet it packs into his “feathers” the longer hair behind his legs and matts the fur. I always keep fresh towels by the door and a brush to make quick removal of all the snow and ice that builds up.
Wipe down after walks.
Keep a dry, clean towel handy to wipe down your pet’s legs, belly and paws after each outdoor excursion. Ice-melt chemicals can irritate their skin and cause serious illness if ingested. Just don’t use the ice-melt stuff if you can help it. And if you really need it, buy something pet-safe like this ice melt that is safe for both pets and kids! We use this paw wax on Rhody’s foot pads when it is really cold and icy. We bought some up in New Hampshire one winter before going off to snow shoe with our first golden. It is a great and natural way to keep their paws protected from sand, hot pavement, ice and salt with all natural 100-percent wax-based cream.
Be careful with chemicals.
Antifreeze smells and tastes sweet to pets, but it’s toxic to them. Quickly clean up any spills, and consider using a brand made from non-toxic propylene glycol instead.
Keep your pet hydrated.
Ensure your pet has plenty of fresh, clean water to drink. Winter air is dry!
Clear a path.
Use a snowthrower to make quick work of snow removal and create a path to your pet’s bathroom area. Snow can be too deep and when even my large dog has snow up to his belly I see him pacing back and fourth to clear a path to potty if we haven’t cleared a space just yet.
Don’t leave your pet in a cold car.
It’s just as dangerous to leave a pet in a cold car during winter months as it is to leave them in a hot car in the summertime.
I hope these tips are a gentle reminder of how we can care for our furry friends in the winter months. I know we can get busy and side-tracked, but lets keep our pets safe and warm all winter!