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Keeping Your Pets Comfortable During Winter

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Covering The Best Methods For Keeping Your Pets Warm & Safe This Winter

Winter is here and with the winter season comes the winter weather. Here in Northeast PA, winters can be pretty rough on both people and their pets. Between below freezing temperatures, fierce winds, and multiple feet of snow, winter can be uncomfortable. The purpose of this article is to offer some general advice on keeping your pets warm and comfortable this winter. 

Keep Your Pets Warm

This is an obvious one, but do everything you can to keep your pets warm during winter. When taking your dog for a walk, consider using a dog coat. There is a wide variety of dog coats on the market of various sizes and styles. This is especially useful for breeds of short-hair dogs such as boxer, doberman, pug, dachshund, and chihuahua. At home, make sure your pet has a warm place to sleep. A cozy dog/cat bed with a warm blanket will do just fine. Try to keep your pets’ sleeping spot/bed elevated and away from any drafts as well.  

Protect Your Dogs’ Paws

Dog walks are essential for potty breaks, but during winter they can be hazardous to your dogs’ health. Walking on ice can result in getting a few pieces of ice lodged into your dogs’ paws. This is very uncomfortable for your dog and can result in open wounds/bleeding.  Even worse, rock salt is everywhere during winter. Rock salt will cause chemical burns on your dogs’ paws and can be toxic if ingested.  After every dog walk, be sure to wash and dry your dogs’ paws. . For added protection, you can also purchase a product known as “paw wax.” This wax will act as a protective barrier between your pet’s sensitive paw pads and the elements. It was originally formulated for sled dogs but now has multiple purposes including hot pavement protection, ice/rock salt protection and rough terrain/sand protection.

Dry Skin Management

Similar to people, dogs and cats tend to develop dry skin during the winter. This is due to a lack of moisture in the air. Between the cold air outside and the heat blasting indoors, it’s kind of inevitable. However, there are ways to prevent dry skin for your pets. Invest in a humidifier for your home to keep the air from getting too dry. This will keep both you and your pets from getting excessively dry skin during winter. Additionally, be sure to towel dry your pet after coming inside from the snow and ice. Any excess moisture and/or rock salt can have a negative reaction on your pets skin. If your pet already has cracked or dry skin, we recommend using pet safe moisturizers. Our favorite product is called Bag Balm, which farmers originally used for their cow’s cracked udders. What’s really wonderful is that it’s great for people too! There are plenty of products on the market to help with skin and paw management for your pet, so don’t let them suffer this winter!

A Little Extra Food 

We never recommend overfeeding your pets. However, giving them a little extra food will go a long way. Cats and dogs tend to need more energy during winter in order to exercise and stay warm. Similar to people, our pets rely on calories to create and sustain this energy. Therefore, giving your pets a little extra food will help keep them warm and active. Additionally, it’s important to keep your pets well hydrated during the winter. Proper hydration will help prevent dry skin and support a healthy coat. 

Pet-Proofing Your Home

Aside from keeping your pets comfortable, it’s important to keep them safe. Make your home as pet friendly as possible by removing anything potentially harmful to your pets. Space heaters should always be kept out-of-reach from your pets. When operating a space heater, keep your pet well supervised. They may get too close without realizing it. Cats love to curl up in dark warm places including the dryer. Before doing laundry, be sure to check that your cat hasn’t snuck into the dryer for a nap. It’s also important to keep any rock salt you have out-of-reach from your pets. Rock salt is toxic if ingested and your pets’ curiosity might get the best of them. To learn more about winter-time hazards to your pets, check out our previous article entitled Holiday Hazards

A Comfortable Winter

No matter what kind of pet you have, we want them to be happy and comfortable this winter. We hope these tips will help you and your furry family have a warm and comfortable winter this year. For more information about keeping your pets happy and safe during the winter, check out the official A.S.P.C.A. website

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