We all want the best for our pets, and that means a lot of love, kibble, and physical exercise.
Providing those creature comforts becomes a little challenging every winter, however, particularly for those who live in northern latitudes. What may have seemed like a good day of play at the park in June could be a prescription for hypothermia in January.
But that’s no reason to shut you and your furry friend indoors for the season.
A little preparation goes a long way when it comes to beating the winter blues, especially if you care for a furry family member. Make the season memorable, and have fun with your pet, by following these simple tips:
10. KEEP THE LEASH ON AROUND ICE
A safe animal is one you’ve always got your eyes on. Untethered to its human by a leash, a curious pet could wind up in a lot of trouble in the snow and ice, especially near freezing bodies of water.
“I’m sure there are instances where animals wander off on bodies of water, and they think it’s just a big field — they wouldn’t know the difference,” Kara Owens, an information officer with the boat and water safety division of Minnesota’s Department of Natural Resources, tells Vet Street.
Using a leash will help you keep your pet safe in the snow and could keep you from having to travel out onto questionable ice.
“You don’t want that dog to go out there and, God forbid, they happen to fall in,” Owens says.
9. KNOW WHEN IT’S TOO COLD
When it’s too cold outdoors, you know to stay in. The same can be said about your furry friends, although they might have less of a say in the matter.
Just like people, every dog has their own level of comfort when it comes to cold, owing to a number of reasons. According to Pet MD, the thickness of a dog’s coat, as well as its size, weight, age, and health, all play a part in determining their conditions for comfort.
Most dogs begin to feel uncomfortable when the temperature drops below 45 degrees, and few should be allowed outside in temperatures under freezing. Keep in mind, wind chill, humidity, cloud cover, and other factors may cause discomfort even when the weather is a little warmer.
8. DRY SKIN
It’s that time of year again. Sticks of lip balm are everywhere you look, and skin moisturizer is featured right out in the front aisle of your local drug store.
Don’t forget that dogs can feel a little dried out too.
According to Dogster, you can help your pet avoid dry, itchy skin by following a few simple steps. Along with providing plenty of water to drink, brush your dog’s fur after baths (which should be less frequent in the winter), keep the house fresh with a humidifier, and push fatty acid supplements throughout the season.
7. PROTECT THOSE PAWS
The cold ice is one thing, but snow-melting salt and other chemicals can pose a serious threat to pet paws. Petfinder maintains that prolonged contact can result in chemical burns and make it hard for your animal to walk properly.
If possible, avoid walkways where salt has been applied, and after every walk, examine your dog’s paws and hair for snow and ice balls that may have gotten trapped.
Lest you have to carry your dog over the ice and snow all season, there are plenty of products that can help keep your pet’s paws dry and comfortable — Guardian Gear dog boots from the Animal Rescue Site store, for example, will keep those paws safe from heat, cold, ice, salt, stones, and abrasive surfaces.
Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.
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