6. Don’t Forget a Towel
Instead of waiting until you get home to pick the pesky snowballs from your pet’s paws, bring a towel along and take care of the task while you play.
You can use a towel to wipe the snow and ice that can build up on your dog after even just a few minutes outdoors, and prevent irritation from salt and de-icing chemicals. And when you return home, the ASPCA reports, it will help you dry your dog off and prevent dry, itchy patches of skin.
5. DON’T LET YOUR PET EAT SNOW
There could be anything in there, from temperature-resilient bacteria to shards of ice, old sleigh bells to broken glass. In all likelihood, it’s probably just frozen water. However, it’s not a good idea to let your pet get its hydration from eating snow. If anything, it could actually dehydrate your dog.
According to Petful, eating too much snow can cause your dog intestinal upset, which could lead to diarrhea. Even freshly fallen snow is only about 5 percent water, and no matter how fun it is to face-plant into, it’s much less fun cleaning up the resulting mess, hours later.
4. AVOID THE DRAFT
No, we’re not recommending you move to Canada, but if you have a pet that cannot come indoors, the Red Cross recommends that you provide a dry, draft-free enclosure large enough to allow your pet to sit and lie down, but small enough to hold in their body heat.
Countless animals will die this year because the proper outdoor shelter was not provided for them. Covering the floor with cedar shavings or straw is one way to help warm up an exterior lodging, but insulating it well, facing it away from cold winds, and covering the doorway with heavy, waterproof burlap or plastic will keep your outdoor animals much more comfortable.
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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