5 Winter Pet Care Tips

By Megan Moon, Community Engagement Manager

There’s definitely a chill in the air these days! Winter is upon us, and pet owners have the added responsibility of keeping their pets safe and warm this season. Exposure to the harsh elements can lead to painful paws, itchy skin, and serious health hazards for companion animals. Here are a few tips to protect your pets from the dangers of cold weather:

1. Keep pets indoors. Companion animals should remain indoors as much as possible during the cold months. Regardless of the temperature, wind chill can be extremely dangerous. Pets are at risk for frostbite, hypothermia, and damage to their noses, ears, and paw pads when left outside in the cold.

If your dog is outside for an extended period of time, be sure to provide insulated shelter to protect him from the elements. Also, make sure that fresh food and water is available in plastic bowls, and check frequently that the water is not frozen. If you need assistance with providing shelter for your outdoor dog, please contact Paw Patrol. If you have community cats in your neighborhood, you can build an outdoor cat shelter to protect them from the elements.

2. Dress for the weather! When headed out for walks, a coat or sweater for your dog will help keep in body heat and reduce the risk of dry, irritated skin. Also, invest in a good pair of booties for your pet’s paws to prevent contact with harsh salt crystals and ice.

3. Keep baths to a minimum. Avoid dry, itchy skin by bathing less frequently during the winter. You can also check with your veterinarian for moisturizing pet shampoo recommendations.

4. Stick to pet-safe ice melt outdoors. Traditional outdoor salt for melting ice can be harmful to your pet’s sensitive paw pads. Pet-safe ice melt is formulated without salt or chloride, so it’s a less irritating and much safer option. This product is available at many local retailers.

5. A little grooming goes a long way. Brushing your pet stimulates blood circulation, which can be helpful during the winter months. While longer coats keep animals warm, it’s important to trim the hair a bit to keep ice and salt out of the fur, especially in between the toes.

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