As the winter gets more and more extreme, people are buying coats and jackets for themselves, but have you ever stopped and thought, “What about my pets?”
Though most pets do have thick fur coats, they might not be enough when it is freezing outside. The most common house pets are cats and dogs, and they are warm-blooded animals like us. Therefore, when the temperature gets really cold outside, they can be at the risk of hypothermia and other problems related to extreme weather exposure.
Therefore, here are some things that you can do to keep your pet safe from the freezing temperatures outside.
Keep your pets sheltered…
You should keep your pets indoors, and under no circumstances should they be allowed to roam outside during the cold winters. Cats especially should be kept inside, even if they go out in other seasons.
As far as dogs are concerned, they are the happiest when they can go out for regular walks. However, you should keep them indoors for the rest of the time and take measures to help your dog warm up after you get back from a walk.
If your pet dog likes to stay outside most of the time and isn’t happy when indoors, you should make a nice shelter for him in the backyard. The floor of the shelter should be raised from the ground. Moreover, the shelter should be large enough that your dog can move around freely but small enough so that it can retain heat.
Make sure that your pet has enough food…
When it is cold outside, pets need more food because the body’s effort to themselves warm can deplete their energy. Therefore, you should give your pets a little extra food during the winters, and you should make sure that your pet’s water dish is filled with fresh water.
You should also consider heating up your pet’s food and water a little so that it is easier for them to enjoy. Moreover, if you use metal food or water bowls, you should change them and get some plastic bowls for the winters because your pet’s tongue might stick to a cold metal bowl.
Get a sweater for your pet…
Clothes aren’t only for humans. In fact, you can get a cute sweater for your cat or dog as well. This is especially important for kittens and puppies, as they aren’t strong enough to deal with harsh weather and can get sick if they get too cold.
Similarly, cats with short or no fur coats also need sweaters to stay warm during the winters. Therefore, get some cute sweaters for your pet, or if you have some time on your hands, consider knitting one for them.
Recognize the signs of hypothermia…
If you are going to take care of your pets in the winter and keep them safe from hypothermia, you need to know its symptoms. In its initial stages, hypothermia can be difficult to notice. Therefore, it is important that you keep an eye out for the symptoms so that you can warm up your pet before things get too bad.
The common symptoms of hypothermia are:
— Slowed movement
— Lower heart rate
— Slowed breathing
— Discoloration of skin
If you notice any of these symptoms, try to warm up your pet by putting them in a blanket and contact your veterinarian. You should also check out best cat resources to learn more about hypothermia in cats.
Wipe your pet’s paws when they come indoors…
Whenever you take your pet dog out for a walk, you should remember to wipe their paws after you get home. In most snowy areas, rock salt and other snow melting chemicals are used to clean roads and pavements. These chemicals can be dangerous to your dog, and if it licks its paws after a walk, they could irritate his mouth.
Therefore, whenever you get home from a walk, remember to wipe down your pet’s paws. Walking in the cold can also result in cracks and dryness on your pet’s paws, so consider getting some booties for your dog.
Use pet-safe ice melts around the house…
Most people use salt or other chemicals that may have chloride in them to melt snow. However, as we have mentioned before, these chemicals can be bad for your pet. Therefore, if you need to melt snow or ice in your backyard and other parts of the house, use pet-safe ice melts that are made without any harmful chemicals.
By using pet-safe ice melts, you don’t have to worry about your pet dog playing in the backyard and getting some sunlight on the winter days.
Take care of outdoor animals as well…
Be careful when you start your car in the morning because it is common for stray cats to find shelter under a car’s wheels, and when you go to move the car, they can get injured.
Therefore, be careful and check for any stray animals under the car before you drive.
Don’t leave your pet in the car…
This is a guideline that everyone knows, and though most people think that leaving your pet in the car can be bad for them in the summer, cold winter can also have negative effects.
Cars can cool down very quickly, and the temperature inside them can get dangerously low for a pet dog or cat. Therefore, don’t leave your pet in the car, even for a short while.
You may think that you just have to grab a couple of things from the store, and there is nothing wrong with leaving the pet in the car. But you never know, you could get caught up in something, and your pet could suffer from being locked in the car.
Make a nice bed for your pet…
Many pets like to sleep near windows, and during winter it can get a little cold there. Therefore, when winter comes, you should get a nice, comfortable, and warm bed for your pet and move it to a spot that is warm.
For instance, if you have a radiator in your home, you can keep your cat or dog’s bed near it.
Trim your pet’s nails regularly…
Though this is a habit that you should keep up with regularity, it is even more important in the winter. This is especially important for dogs, as it is difficult for them to walk on ice with long nails.
Dogs with long nails can slip on icy pavements and hurt themselves. Therefore, make sure that you trim their nails at regular intervals.