Keep your four-legged companion safe and happy while waiting for spring to arrive with these 10 cold-weather tips for pets.
Limit time outdoors
During the cold months, cats should be kept indoors at all times, especially when snow or ice is coming down. The same goes for dogs, except for when they need to go to the bathroom. Limit your dogs’ time outside to only when they need to relieve themselves.
Check paws frequently
Immediately after coming inside from a walk, check your dog’s paws and remove ice, salt and mud that can get stuck between the padding.
The Vaseline trick
To protect dogs’ paws from the salt and chemicals that are often found on sidewalks during winter weather conditions, use Vaseline on your pets’ paws, or invest in doggie shoes. The Vaseline will create a barrier that helps to keep the salt from sticking to your dog.
Think about calories
If your pet is kept outdoors, he/she will typically need more food during cold weather, as the body burns more calories in order to keep warm. On the other hand, indoor pets usually do not get as much exercise when the weather is bad, and may not need as much food as they usually eat during warmer and calmer weather. Consult with your vet before limiting or adding to your pet’s daily food intake.
Check the water bowl
Never let your pet’s water freeze, as it’s important to stay hydrated. This is more of a tip for outdoor pets, but also stay conscious of where you place the water bowl indoors as well, as it is better to place it in a heated room than near a door.
Beware of hiding cats
Cats are known for climbing under vehicle engines for warmth. Check the hood of your car before starting it if you suspect your cat could be hidden inside.
Keep them leashed
It is easy for dogs to lose their scents in snowy or icy conditions, making them prone to becoming lost. Keep your dog on a leash during walks to ensure he/she gets home safely.
According to the ASPCA, you should never shave your dog’s fur down to the skin during the winter, and should leave the coat in a longer style to provide warmth. If your dog is a short-haired breed, consider buying a sweater or jacket for walks.
The bed location
Make sure your pets’ beds are kept in a warm area of the house, away from drafty doors and windows.
Hide the antifreeze
Antifreeze has a sweet taste that can attract animals, but it is very poisonous, even in small amounts, says the Pet Health Network. Wipe up any antifreeze spills immediately and keep the bottle in a place where your pet can’t reach it.