Winter Advice for Caring For Your Pets

swiss-shepherd-dog-ea30b50a2b_640The autumn weather has been kind to us this far, but ready or not winter is upon us, and with that comes colder temperatures, wet weather and of course snow. With the harsher weather comes the need for some special considerations for our furry four legged friends. Take a look at some key topics to make sure you are keeping your pups safe, warm and properly exercised this winter.

Walking

Dogs still need to be walked, even on dreadful winter days. It is necessary however to take certain precautions when doing so. Oftentimes snowballs form on the fur and feet of pooches, making them cold and wet unnecessarily. Tips for keeping them more comfortable while out on walks include keeping the fur trimmed to prevent snow from building up, as well as Vaseline between the toes to help avoid any build-up.

Snowballs are very painful to walk on so it is important to end the walk if you notice any. Snowballs should never be pulled off, instead left to melt off both from paws and fur, so keep plenty of towels handy, and turn the heat up slightly to speed this process along. Street walking is likely best, especially for smaller dogs to avoid drudging through the deep, cold snow.

The sand and salt used to remove snow and ice from the roads can be damaging to the paws, as well as harmful if ingested. It is best to wash your pet’s feet after walking to remove the debris.

Warmth

Sometimes a jacket is required for dogs that are quite young, very old or ill in some way. Breeds with shorter coats such as Bull Terriers or Greyhounds will also appreciate the added warmth of a coat. Feeling the ears and paws of the animal is a good indicator of whether or not they are feeling cold. It may be necessary to shorten walks on frigid days, and exercise in a different fashion.

It is important to keep warm indoors as well, so a few things should be considered during the winter months. Dogs with short coats who live in homes with central heat do not grow a proper winter coat so it may not be wise to turn the heat down low when leaving as your precious pooch may be uncomfortable. Also consider a pet bed with raised sides to prevent drafts from chilling your pet.