Keeping your pets safe and warm during cold weather is essential for protecting their health and well-being. With the right precautions, you can ensure your furry friends stay comfortable all winter long. Here’s a handy guide for helping them thrive until the temperature starts rising again and the crocuses are back in bloom!
Indoor Pet Care
The most important personal pet care tip for cold weather is keeping your animals indoors as much as possible. Naturally, your circumstances and your pets’ preferences will determine how much time they spend outside. The only surefire way to protect them from the elements, however, and ensure they stay warm and comfortable is by providing shelter for them whenever and wherever possible.
Giving your pet a cozy bed to sleep in is also important. A thick blanket can be added to their bedding to provide extra warmth. This is especially important for older animals who sleep on the floor, where drafts may be more noticeable. Remember: Heat rises, and since we’re much higher than our pets, it’s easy to forget they might be colder than we are.
Outdoor Pet Care
Dogs and outdoor cats will inevitably have to go outside on even the coldest of days. Keeping them active with some gentle exercise will help them stay warm while in the frigid air, but you’ll still need to be on the lookout for signs they’ve had enough of the chill.
Signs of hypothermia can include shivering, lethargy, and pale or blue-tinged skin. If you suspect your pet is suffering from hypothermia, seek veterinary care immediately.
If they exhibit signs of discomfort in general after being outside, bring them back inside ASAP, and seek veterinary care if trouble persists. Pets that are older or have health issues may be more sensitive to the cold and may require extra care.
Hydration and Nutrition
Keeping your pets hydrated and well-nourished is crucial for their overall health and well-being, especially during cold weather. Both the warm air inside and the cold air outside can draw moisture from the body.
Make sure your pets have access to plenty of fresh, clean water at all times. Cold temperatures can make it more difficult for them to stay hydrated, so it’s important to keep an eye on their water intake.
It may also be prudent to increase the amount of food your animals get during the day. The cold weather will increase their total energy expenditure as they attempt to stay warm.
Clothing and Protection
Smaller dogs and short hair breeds may need to wear jackets or sweaters during the coldest months, even inside the home. This will help them stay warm while keeping their fur dry. Additionally, consider investing in paw protectors if you’ll be walking them outside. These will shield your pet’s paws from the cold, as well as from any sand, rock salt, or deicing agents that may be on the ground.
Grooming Hair and Nails
Keeping your pets well groomed will help them stay warmer during the winter months. Regular trimmings will leave them with fur long enough to trap a layer of insulating air but not so long that snow and ice cling to them. Do not shave your pets down entirely unless medically necessary. Be sure to keep the fur between their toes trimmed, as well. Grinchy feet can trap snow and salt during walking, potentially causing frostbite.
Enlist Pet Care Services for Fluffy and Fido This Winter!
There’s no shame in seeking a little extra help to ensure your pets have the best care possible. In fact, it’s a sign you’re an excellent pet parent! Pet care service providers like ESP Pet Specialists can make sure your furry friends get the love and attention they need all year long.
During the coldest months, our dog walking services will help your companions get the exercise they need to avoid packing on that pesky holiday weight. We can also drop-in while you’re out of town or otherwise unable to walk your pups and make sure they’re thriving in the harsh winter weather. Reach out today to discuss your family’s needs!