Everyone wants to give their pets the best care; and during winter, pets like to cozy up just like humans. When temperatures drop and the ground is coated in snow, pet parents might want to think about adapting their pet’s daily routine to keep them cheerful, safe, and sound until spring arrives once again.
Here are our winter pet care suggestions to help you and your furry friend enjoy the season!
PET CARE WHEN YOU GO OUTSIDE
Keep an eye on your pet when they’re out of the home. Also, make sure they have access to a protected structure with enough food and water if they’re going to be out in the cool weather for a long time. Blankets and thick towels are excellent methods to warm up your furry friend after being out for extended periods.
Limit Outdoor Time
You want to reduce their time outside, including walks, to safeguard both yourself and your pet from weather-related dangers. Even long-haired breeds known for being more “cold resistant” can feel uncomfortable when exposed to low temperatures for extended periods. Short-haired breeds are more vulnerable to temperature changes, and smaller pets, who are more prone to come into contact with snow, may feel the effects of the cold weather faster.
It is safer to go on walks and play with your pet during the day since darkness makes it harder to spot hazards. LED collars, hi-vis leashes, and coats can help you and your pet stand out if you absolutely must go outside at night.
Keep Your Pet Warm
When your dog or cat is out and about, their fur will usually keep them warm; but pets with thin coats, as well as those who are older or sick, may be more susceptible to the cold. You could consider getting your pet a winter coat to keep them warm and cozy while out and about.
Care for their Paws
Always check your pooch or kitty’s paws for any symptoms of injury, like cracked pads or blood. Make sure to dry their feet, legs, and stomach thoroughly after spending time outside. This helps remove snow, road salt, and any leftover dirt.
Dog booties also keep your pet safe from dangerous toxins like antifreeze and road salt. While some deicers are known to be pet-friendly, the majority are not. Your pet may become ill if they lick chemicals from their fur and feet.
When it’s cold and wet outside, cats frequently seek cover beneath cars; they may even leap onto and under the hood to be near the warmth of an engine. Before starting your vehicle, always check for furry guests who may be under the hood.
INDOOR PET CARE
Even if you keep your pet mostly indoors throughout the winter, they can still be affected by the cold weather; here are some tips on what you can do to help them deal with the cold.
Adding extra blankets to your pet’s bed will help keep them warm and comfortable throughout the colder months.
To add to the coziness, raise the bed off the ground and add even more blankets. However, don’t make the bed too high, this may make it difficult to reach for senior pets with weak joints.
Your pet will still need physical and mental exercise to stay happy; keep in mind that a bored pet may develop behavioural issues. Give them new toys and engage in frequent playtime with them, especially if they aren’t out as much during the winter. Preferably play with your cat around dawn and dusk if you can, this is when they are at their most energetic.
CARE FOR SENSITIVE PETS
Senior pets, younger ones and pets with underlying diseases will have a harder time with body temperature regulation, which means cold weather may be unpleasant for them.
Also do remember not to overexert them, they can be become tired more quickly and exhibit signs of pain. Rigidity, joint licking, difficulty going up or down the stairs, slow eating, and changes in behaviour are only a few of these signs.
BASIC WINTER CARE
Chip and ID
Snow and ice may mask odours that might normally help your four-legged friend find their way home, thus many pets go lost in the winter. A comfortable collar with up-to-date contact information is ideal. You should also microchip and register your pet with the Animal Services department of your local municipality.
Some medical conditions, including arthritis, may be aggravated by lower temperatures. In addition, pets with diabetes or heart illness may struggle to regulate their body temperature in the cold, so it’s vital to take your pet to the veterinarian if any issues arise.
Most adult pets should have a yearly routine check -and elderly pets should have a bi-annual wellness check- to stay ahead of any potential health problems.
In the end, the best winter safety advice we can give you is to keep an eye on your pet and provide them with a lot of love; nothing beats snuggling to keep your pet happy (and you too!). We wish you a great and relaxing winter season!
If your four-legged friend displays signs of discomfort, changes in behaviour, or any other symptoms, contact your veterinarian straight away.
This article provides a summary view of some aspects you need to know about pets and how to protect them during the winter months. We recommend you take the time to talk in detail with one of our licensed veterinarians. They will provide the best suggestions and strategies for your pet. For an appointment please contact us at 416-362-9696 or click the button below.