Guide to Winter Pet Care Tips

With the winter weather starting to turn to colder temperatures and the occasional snow and ice, it’s important to keep your pets in mind to protect them from the harsh winter weather. We’ve rounded up our top winter pet care tips to keep your pets safe and healthy all winter long.

Antifreeze is like candy to pets

Antifreeze is sweet tasting and dogs and cats will drink it as if it were water. However, if ingested, it can cause serious sickness or death. Make sure to clean up any spills that may happen in the garage or driveway and keep antifreeze in a place your pet cannot get to it.

Wipe your dog’s paws after they are outside

Your dog’s paws can pick up all kinds of harmful chemicals like salt, antifreeze, or de icer while on walks during the winter. When returning from walks, make sure to wipe off their paw pads to prevent them from licking and becoming sick, which can lead to intestinal tract inflammation. A great winter pet care tip–You can also purchase protective paw booties as an added layer of protection.

Bring in your pets for the winter months

When the temperatures get low, don’t leave pets outside if it’s avoidable. If you have outdoor pets, bring them in away from the harsh elements of winter–even if it’s just the garage or a pole barn! Also, according to Washington State University, “By ‘inside,’ that doesn’t mean letting dogs and cats in and out of a warm house from night to day. Creating an abrupt temperature contrast can increase the risk of some infectious diseases.”

Heat is key

If you choose to keep your pets outside, they require more calories to generate heat for themselves. In addition to the amount of food and water they normally eat, add about 10%-15% more; this should help them meet their calorie needs. Make sure your pet’s shelter is dry and well insulated with straw, wood shavings or a blanket. Also make sure the entrance to their shelter is away from the wind so rain and snow don’t enter.

Avoid shaving

It’s obvious–the more hair your dog has the more body heat it will keep in. Do not shave your dog down in the winter months. If you need to, minimally trim your pooch so they can see and prevent knots or where snow will cling to their fur for long haired dogs. Side note: Short hair dogs may look warm but a coat or sweater will help them stay warm and maintain heat.

Bathe at a minimum

While the temperatures are low, try not to give your pets baths. While usually baths are great to get your pooch cleaned, the harsh cold weather combined with a bath will wash away natural protective oils. This could dry out their skin causing it to be itchy and flaky. If you must wash your pet, look into moisturizing shampoos! You can ask your vet for shampoo recommendations.

In the end, making sure your pet is protected from the elements should be the top priority and ensuring there isn’t anything from your winter cleanup stash will keep them healthy all season long. However, if an accident should occur, definitely make a trip to your vet’s office to make sure your furry friend doesn’t get sick from anything they may have gotten into. Bundle up and stay safe this winter and be sure to check out these pet-friendly winter activities to keep you and your pet from getting the winter blues!