Cold Weather Pet Protection

The cold weather is here, and as we bundle up to stay warm, it’s also time to protect our pets from the cold.  Here are some cold weather safety tips from the ASPCA.

  • Towel dry your pet as soon as he comes inside, paying special attention to his feet and in between the toes.  Remove any snow balls or ice from between his foot pads.
  • Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth.  If your dog is long haired, trim him to minimize the clinging ice balls, salt crystals, and de-icing chemicals that can dry his skin.  Don’t neglect the hair between his toes.  If your dog is short haired, get him a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck.
  • Bring a towel on long walks to clean off stinging, irritated paws.  After each walk, wash and dry your pet’s feet and stomach to remove ice, salt, and chemicals.  Check for cracks in paw pads or redness between the toes.
  • Bathe your pets as little as possible during cold spells.  Washing too often can remove essential oils and increase the chance of developing dry, flaky skin.  If your pet must be bathed, use a moisturizing shampoo or rinse.
  • Massaging petroleum jelly or other paw protectants into paw pads before going outside can help protect from salt and chemical agents.  Booties provide even more coverage and can also prevent sand and salt from getting lodged between bare toes and causing irritation.  Use pet friendly ice melts.
  • Antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats.  Be sure to thoroughly clean up spills from your vehicle.  Consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol.
  • Pets burn extra energy trying to stay warm in winter.  Feeding your pet a little more during winter months can provide much needed calories.  Making sure she has plenty of water to drink will help keep her well hydrated and her skin less dry.
  • Make sure your pet has a warm place to sleep off the floor and away from drafts.  A cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.
  • Remember, if it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet, so keep your animals inside.  If left outdoors, pets can freeze, become disoriented, lost, stolen, injured, or killed.  In addition, don’t leave pets alone in a car during cold weather, as cars can act as refrigerators that hold in cold and can cause animals to freeze to death.

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