With Thanksgiving fast approaching, that means only one thing—the frigid cold will soon seep in. And while you’re bundled up in your warm jacket and roasting next to a fire, it’s important that your pets are just as protected from the cold as you are—especially smaller pets, old/sickly pets, and new puppies/kittens (they are exceptionally vulnerable to cold). That being said, continue reading below to learn some safety-animal tips for your pet this winter.
- Knit Your Pet a Sweater—Ok ok, you don’t actually have to knit a sweater from scratch, but dressing your furry friend in warm attire is a great way to keep your pet nice and toasty, especially the smaller and light-fur breeds. Whatever you do you don’t want to shave your pet’s fur—keep it long during the winter.
- Feed Your Pet More. During the cold season your pet will need some extra food in their bowls—this is because when animals get cold they begin to shiver which in-turn causes your pet to burn more calories. Thus your pet will need to consume more food to get the desired caloric intake. This isn’t to suggest that you need to stuff your pet’s face, but offering an additional “light” meal or some extra snacks can give them the energy they need to fight the cold.
- Always Honk—Before starting your car and reviving up your engine it’s recommended to give your horn a light tap. All too often pets (especially cats) like to hide underneath cars to seek some warmth. If you aren’t careful, you may very well cause a fatal accident to your pet, your neighbor’s pet or a stray.
- Do Not Let Them Run Loose—If you’re ok with letting your pet take care of its “business” on its own (meaning leash-less) because it always returns home, you may want to refrain from doing so in the wintery months. This is because in the cold, pets are more likely to lose their scent and get lost—not to mention that when the area is covered in snow, it will appear unfamiliar to your pet. This is why the SPCA says that more dogs are reported missing during the winter. There are also other huge dangers that can manifest from letting your pet run freely as well—for example, if your pet decides to drink from a puddle, it can be poisoned from antifreeze (which tastes sweet to animals). And if your pet eats antifreeze they aren’t simply cured with some medicine—it can lead to acute renal kidney failure and die. So make sure to monitor your pet closely and wipe away clean any puddles surrounding your driveway etc.
- Protect Paws. Unlike humans, pets do not regulate their body temperature via sweating—they lose most of their heat through their footpads. Thus it’s important to help protect the soles of their feet when taking them for a walk outside. Not only can walking in the snow or cold cement cause them to contract frostbite or receive cuts from sharp ice, but they can also be poisoned—in the cold wintery months lime rock salt, calcium chloride and other de-icing products are used to melt snow and ice, but these chemicals and products are toxic to your pet if it decides to lick its paw. So in addition to wiping/rinsing your pet’s paws clean and removing snow that gets trapped in between its toes, you might want to invest in some booties. Your pet might not feel comfortable wearing them but it’s for its own benefit.
*Bonus Tip—If it’s too cold out, just let your pet stay inside (even if it is normally an outside pet). You also want to ensure that your pet has warm bedding—so do not just leave them in the basement or cellar where they can catch a cold draft.
Photo credit: Shannon Pifko