Winter is a difficult time for us. Temperatures drop, and it can become unbearable to be outside for more than a couple of minutes at a time. This can make something as simple as going to the grocery store an ordeal that can take much longer than it would in the summer.
However, not only is winter hard for us, the same goes for our pets. Many of them like the warmth and sun of the summer much more than the snow and harsh temperatures of the winter. As a result, you need to do all you can to care for your pets correctly in the winter. This article is going to go over a few tips to help you do so.
Keep Them Inside for the Most Part
Winters in many parts of the country can get excruciatingly cold. You want to keep your pet protected from the elements as best as possible. But in case you’re going out for groceries or experiencing the season’s first snow, neckwear or bandana would be the finest choice to keep your pup warm and satisfied. 4inbandana.com makes it easy for dog owners to pick logo-printed bandanas and elegant neck gaiter, and convince them to stay outside safely with their Rover.
If your pet truly wants to be outdoors in the winter, only allow them out for short amounts of time. Also, be sure that they have a capable outdoor structure or house to relax/stay in for warmth. Be sure to check out a blog post by Furry Friends Gear to learn more about some of the available options.
Be Mindful of Heat Sources
During the frigid temperatures of winter, pets will look for any place they can go to get a little bit of extra warmth. While this is often their bed, it can also be places like your radiator or furnace. While this might not seem like a problem, it certainly can be if the source is hot to the touch.
Your pet might not be aware of how hot something can get, and could seriously hurt or burn themselves by getting too close or staying too long. As a result, you need to help them out and ensure that these dangerous hot areas are blocked off completely, so they cannot access them. Also, be careful when it comes to leaving your stove on, as some pets may make the poor decision to attempt to curl up on it.
Take Care of Their Paws
Many parts of your pets body are more susceptible to the cold than others. This can include their tails, their ears and especially their paws. A simple walk in the cold can hurt your pets paws, make them incredibly uncomfortable and potentially even lead to frostbite. In order to combat this, consider getting some dog boots for your pet.
While they can look funny, these dog boots can be very beneficial for keeping your pets paws warm and comfortable. These boots can also protect your dog from interacting with harmful chemicals such as deicers that are common on roads and sidewalks in the winter. Of course, be sure to know how to choose the right dog boots. They need to fit properly, the soles should be relatively flexible, and they should be made from a waterproof material.
Consider Adjusting Their Food Intake
Adjusting the food intake of your pet is another nice consideration to make in the winter. In the warmer months, most pets are going for longer walks and spending much more time playing in the yard. But in the winter, many don’t even like to go outside to go to the bathroom, let alone play or go for long walks.
Because they are less active, they are using less energy and thus, require less food. If you leave their food the same, you might be overfeeding them without even knowing. There are several risks of overfeeding your pet, that can range from obesity to diabetes and several others. If you find your pet has been less active than usual in the winter, consider reducing how much food you give them by a little. Of course, make sure they are still getting an ample amount and aren’t going hungry.
Provide Them Warm and Cozy Places to Sleep and Relax
When it’s cold out, you don’t want your pet to have to lie down on the floor. Hardwood or tile floors can get incredibly cold in the winter, and aren’t a good spot for your furry friend to get comfortable. If you don’t want them to lay on your couch, chairs or bed, you need to provide them with nice places to sleep and lay down.
This could be a dog bed or a couple of blankets formed into a little bed. Either way, your pet will certainly appreciate the fact that they have a nice and warm place to cuddle up in and sleep at night. If you know a spot where your pet likes to curl up and sleep, do your best to put their bed (makeshift or otherwise) near there, as well.
Be Tactical About When to Go For Walks
While you might not love the idea of taking your dog for a walk in the winter, it is still important. However, you need to be careful about when you go for these walks. You generally want to go for a walk while it is sunny out and the day is at its warmest. It may still be cold, but not as cold as it would have been if you waited until it’s dark to go for the walk.
Also, while long walks with your dog can be a lot of fun in the summer, they should generally be kept very brief in the winter. This will limit the exposure that you and your pet both have to the cold weather.
Winter Dangers to Dogs
The winter season is known for its chilly, icy conditions, gloomy evening strolls, crunching of snow and ice, and brisk, frosty treks. These things may be classic indications that winter has arrived, but they also point to several seasonal risks for our dogs. Being prepared is key when going outside in the cold, not just in terms of what we wear but also in terms of understanding potential dangers and how to avoid them.
Dogs can be seriously hurt by antifreeze. Even a little bit of it licked can harm their kidneys and result in death. Some dogs could find it irresistible because of how sweet it tastes and smells. Dogs will typically find it after it has spilled after being refilled with screen wash or has leaked from a car radiator. Keep your dog away from your car if you see any liquids there and clean it up right away. Immediately wash their paws with soap and water if they have stepped through any. Contact your veterinarian right away if you suspect that your dog has consumed antifreeze or come into touch with it. It is best if your dog is treated as soon as possible.
Dogs may quickly become lost and confused in a storm or heavy snow conditions, making it challenging for them to find their way home.
Frostbite and/or hypothermia can quickly develop in your dog as a result of extremely low temperatures and brisk winds. The majority of dogs will do fine outside as they are, but if it is extremely cold out or you plan on being outside for a while, you may want to consider purchasing them a coat and some paw protection. Although every dog is unique, some dogs, especially small, slender, very young, or older canines, or those with short hair, may be more in danger from the cold.
If you do decide to purchase a coat, make sure it fits properly so that it does not restrict their ability to move normally due to being either too tight or too loose. Get your pet indoors as quickly as you can if you are outside in the cold, and they start to shiver or seem particularly worn out. Contact your vet right away if they appear to be seriously ill, if their condition worsens, or if it persists.
If you are taking your dog for a walk in really cold weather, it’s crucial that you pay particular attention to their paws. Snow and ice can ball up on their fur between the pads. This could not only make your dog uncomfortable, but it also makes them more vulnerable to frostbite. It may be an indication that your dog’s paws are too chilly if they lift their paws, stop moving, or whine.
When it is chilly outside, a dog’s physiology restricts blood flow to their paws, tail, ears, and other extremities in favor of protecting and warming their critical organs. Although the extremities are at risk of being hurt by the cold because of this, the organs are still protected. Try to limit the amount of time they spend outside on bitterly cold, icy, or snowy days and think about using a coat or paw guards to keep them warm. Contact your veterinarian right away if frostbite is a concern.
When walking your dog near a frozen lake, be cautious when letting them off the leash and keep them close by. A frozen lake or pond may be hazardous. They could stumble on the ice and damage themselves, their paws could be wounded by the sharp ice, and they could fall through the ice and drown or get hypothermic.
Although they might seem solid, some frozen lakes could have gaps or thin patches of ice that your dog could slip through. Do not go in after your dog if they do fall through the ice. If the ice has already cracked for your dog, it will probably do so for you as well. To help them grasp on, try using a long stick or a leash. You can even shout their name to get them to swim toward you.
Road Grit and Salt
Take extra precautions when walking your dog on surfaces throughout the winter because of the ice, snow, and rain that can make them slick. Formerly grated surfaces might also be dangerous for dogs. Grit may contain salt or other substances that might aggravate the irritation already present in the paws, producing discomfort, redness, or cracking. Make sure to wipe your dog’s paws after walks in grated areas because the salt in road grit can be toxic to dogs if licked in high enough quantities. You might want to think about getting your dog some protective booties. Call your vet right away if you think your dog may have consumed rock salt.
Dangers of the dark
Wear reflective clothing, use bright or reflective collars, and use light-up leads to keep you and your dog safe as the nights grow longer and the sun sets earlier. There are several things you may do to increase the visibility of you and your dog at night because road traffic accidents are frequent in the winter. In case they become lost after dark, double-check that your dog is ID-tagged and microchipped.
Rat and mouse poison
Throughout the winter, more people typically put poisons down because rats and mice seek warmer locations to reside in the colder months. Some poisons may smell and taste pleasant to your canines despite being made to be enticing to rats. Rat and mouse poison comes in a variety of forms, but if you use it, be careful to put it where your dog cannot get to it. If you suspect your pet may have consumed any poisons, you should always call your veterinarian immediately.
If your dog has arthritis, it may feel stiffer, especially in the morning before they have warmed up, as the symptoms of arthritis can worsen in cooler weather. Contact your veterinarian if your dog exhibits any of these symptoms and you are concerned.
Winter weight gain
Due to the chilly, damp weather and shorter days in the winter, we tend to be less active. Less exercise makes it simpler for your dog to gain weight, therefore it is crucial to monitor their height and weight. You might need to cut back on their meal quantities over the winter to keep them from packing on the pounds. Take your dog for regular walks to ensure their health, and if necessary, be ready for the winter with warmer accessories. Doing indoor activities with your dog will keep them active and entertained if you are unable to go outside.
Avoid walking your dog on salted sidewalks, provide them with access to fresh water, and keep an eye out for hypothermia and frostbite symptoms if you want to keep them safe during winter. Under snowy or icy weather, it is a good idea to keep your dog on a leash to protect them from escaping or slipping through thin ice.
Summit it up!
As responsible pet owners, we must take steps to protect our four-legged companions during the winter. We can assist to make sure our dogs remain healthy and content during the winter by providing enough shelter, avoiding dangerous situations, and keeping an eye out for indicators of danger.
Taking care of your pets during winter requires some extra effort and attention, but it is essential to keep them healthy and happy. It is also important to keep them active, even if it means finding indoor activities for them. By following the above tips, we hope it has proven effective when it comes to taking care of your pet in the winter.