We often hear about the precautions pet owners should take to make sure their furry friends are staying safe from the heat, but what about the cold weather? You may think that because your four-legged baby is covered with fur that he or she has all the protection they need from the cold, but this isn’t always the case. Their fur coats aren’t exactly a heat blanket, and their paws aren’t made of iron. So, as we dive into the coldest months of the year, make sure you and your fur baby are staying and playing safe this winter with a little extra help from a few tips and tricks.
Similar to their human companions, pets’ tolerances of cold weather vary. Contributing factors include your pet’s coat, body fat stores, activity level and overall health. Pets with a long or thick coats typically tend to be more tolerant of cold weather, but this does not mean they cannot become cold. On the other hand, short-haired and short-legged pets are more susceptible to cold weather as they have less protection and their bellies are more likely to come in contact with cold, wet and/or snow covered ground. On top of the length or their coat, certain health conditions may cause your pet to have trouble regulating their body temperature and may put them at an even higher risk of suffering a cold-weather injury. Dogs are similar to humans and the cold weather can affect them, too. Although you can’t always prevent your pets from getting cold, one way to avoid the risks of cold wea
ther to your pets is by going on shorter, more frequent walks. And if it’s raining or snowing outside, towel drying your pet as soon as they come inside is a good idea as well.
If you live in an area where severe winter weather is possible, spend extra time to monitor your pet’spaws. During the winter months, many sidewalks and roads are routinely covered with deicers, antifreeze or other chemicals to help stop freezing. Thesechemicals can be toxic and harmful to your pet’s paws and can also cause problems if they are not cleaned off and your pet then licks his/her feet. After you come inside from a walk, take an extra few seconds to wipe the bottom of your pet’s paws. In addition to toxic chemicals, the cold itself can pose problems. Check your dog’s paws frequently to ensure there is no cracking on their pads or bleeding. It is also important to check for ice accumulation between his or her toes. The ASPCA recommends massaging petroleum jelly or other paw protectant onto your pet’s paw pads before going outside. You might want to invest in other dog accessories, such as booties, to help protect their paws from the cold. With little booties slipped onto your pet’s paws, you can take your pet for a walk worry free during the winter months.
In the northern parts of the U.S. where severe winter weather is possible, it’s best to prepare ahead of time for both yourself and your four-legged children. Ice storms and blizzards are likely to be accompanied by power outages. The American Veterinary Medical Association suggests preparing a disaster/emergency kit that includes your pet plans as well. Your kit should include necessities, such as, medications, food, water, heartworm and flea/tick preventative, pet waste bags and any other pet products needed to keep your furry friend safe and comfortable for up to five days. For sanitary reasons, one of the most important items to include in your kit is DOGIPOT® Litter Pick Up Bags. You won’t be able to take your pet outside during an ice storm or blizzard, and you’ll have to clean up their messes inside for the time being. As always, before you head outside make sure to check your pet’s tags to ensure the phone number and address are up to date just in case they get a little too adventurous in the cold. Don’t forget to have your towel ready to dry off their fur and wipe off those paws when you come back inside. Now you’re all set, go enjoy the snow (as much as you can)! DOGIPOT® creates durable, long-lasting products that will ensure you have a successful and happy winter season. For more information, call (800) 364-7681, or check out our complete line of dog products and dog park equipment.