How to Take Care Of Your Pets During Winter

Does your favorite furry friend love running around in the snow, or do they prefer to stay cozied in a blanket inside during the winter months? No matter their personal preference, it’s important for you, as their owner, to pay attention to their needs to ensure their safety during these cold months. Often, an owner will assume that because their pet has a coat of fur, that they will stay warm outside for extended periods of time. This isn’t always the case. Some breeds of dogs have thicker coats of fur, and the bigger the dog is, the better prepared they will be to withstand the cold. Cold weather is hard on any dog, no matter the breed, so read these tips to help you take care of your pets this winter.

Pets Winter - How to Take Care Of Your Pets During Winter

Indoor is best

It is going to be warmest inside of your home, and so that is going to be the safest, and warmest, option for your pet this winter. Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean that can’t, or shouldn’t, spend any time outside, but they should spend their spare time inside instead of outside, to reduce the risk of hypothermia and frostbite. If your dog starts shivering, get them warmed up immediately, and keep an eye on them when you let them into your backyard to use the bathroom.

Keeping them warm when outside

For dog breeds that have thick and warm coats, they should be able to stay warm outside for short periods of time. If you have a small dog breed or one with short fur, invest in a warm sweater or coat for your dog when you go on walks with your dog. Even with a sweater on, don’t let them be outside in freezing temperatures for too long.

Keep them away from direct heat sources

It’s important to pay attention to your dogs cues when inside. If they are feeling cold, they may gravitate towards heat sources, such as a fireplace or heating vent. Keep an eye on them, to keep them from getting overheated or burned if they get too close to one of these heat sources. Even if your fireplace has a guard on it, your pet can still get burned.

Dog Winter - How to Take Care Of Your Pets During Winter

Don’t overfeed

Some pet owners instinctively think that, if they give their pet more food during the winter months, their dogs will develop an extra layer of fat to keep them warm. That extra layer of warmth should be from a sweater or coat, though, and not food. In fact, when it is cold, your pet is likely to be less active and therefore need less calories than before, so make sure you pay attention to your pets activity level and adjust their food intake accordingly.

Care for their fur, skin, and paws

The weather generally gets drier, the colder it gets. In addition to this, running a heating system in your home creates air that is more dry. So, it’s important to make sure your pets skin is staying moisturized! One of the best ways to do this is to add coconut oil, or something similar, to your pets food in the morning and evening. This will nourish their skin and fur from the inside, out. Pay attention to the condition of their skin, and if you see flaky or dry skin, or a rash of any kind, consult your vet to ensure you get them the moisture that they need.

Another condition your pets may experience this winter is cracked paws. The skin on our hands and feet get dry and cracked during winter, and theirs do, too. Trim the hair between their pads to prevent ice buildup, and after walks in your neighborhood, wipe their paws to remove salt buildup. If your pet seems to experience discomfort during or after walks outside, consider getting them booties to protect their paws until the ground warms up.

Pets Warm - How to Take Care Of Your Pets During Winter

Be extra careful with seniors

Cold weather can aggravate existing health conditions in older dogs, especially arthritis. If your dog has arthritis it is so important to keep up their exercise during winter, but avoid slippery surfaces, and get them a joint supplement to help lubricate their joints and relieve some of their pain. If they aren’t on a joint supplement, talk to your vet about getting your pet on glucosamine and chondroitin.

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