Preparing your pets for winter weather
Even though our furry friends are covered in what seems to be warm fur we have to take certain precautions to keep them safe throughout the colder months. Remember that their fur doesn’t always keep them warm, and sometimes they need help from us to stay safe.
As it gets colder
Many animals are not equipped to be outside through freezing temperatures. Even if they have thick fur it may not insulate well enough from the cold. When fur gets wet, it loses most of the ability to insulate heat in the body. Dogs with short hair are even more susceptible to colder weather.
As it gets colder it can be hard on pets who are used to spending their time lounging in your backyard. It may be tempting to leave them outside, but remember they shouldn’t be left outside for long. If you couldn’t stay outside that long, then neither should they. Imagine dogs with shorter hair, it’s like standing outside in freezing temperatures with nothing but a t-shirt on.
It may seem silly but some dogs can benefit greatly from a coat or sweater. Dogs with shorter hair can get a chill when they’re out of doors. So if your dog needs to wear a coat for your daily walks, get them one. Even as we head into fall temperatures can be too cold for your pup to be comfortable out of doors. You should be able to tell if they’re warm enough, but consider if you, yourself, reached for an extra layer before your walk. Consider how your short haired dog feels in the cold wind.
Paws and pads
Keep an eye on your cat’s and dog’s paws. Most animals have fur between their toes that ice and snow loves to stick too. This often makes it hard for your pet to walk, and can cause damage to the pads of their feet and hurt them. If you have a pet that loves playing in the snow there are some ways to help their feet. Booties are always a great solution, if your pet can tolerate them. Some pets don’t deal with the feeling of wearing booties well. If you’re taking your dog out for a snow run or ski, try putting the booties on when you’re nearly ready to go. Wait to put them on and let your dog out of the house or car, until you’re ready to hit the trail. This way, your dog has little time to chew at them or rip them off. They’re more likely to keep them on because they’re distracted by the thought of going for a walk with you.
Musher’s wax can also be a huge help. It is a messier option to booties, but it can work just as well if not better. It’s a wax that is applied to the pads of dogs feet and the hair surrounding the pads. It helps snow and ice not stick to your pet’s feet. It is called musher’s wax because it’s what mushers actually use on their sled dogs. This could be perfect for the kitty who insists on a snowy stroll through the neighborhood. You do have to be careful and wipe the wax off, so that it doesn’t get all over the inside of your car or home. Again, this wax is best to put on right before you’re ready to hit the trail, as letting the dog sit and lick it off is counterproductive and not good for your pet.