How to Care for Cats and Dogs in Winter

 

Care for dogs and cats in winter

If you happen to live in an area which gets the full brunt of winter weather during the early part of the year, you probably already know a thing or two about preparing for the onslaught of cold and yucky weather.

However, sometimes feline and canine members of the family can be overlooked during our thorough prep work for winter. It’s a good time to cover a few winter pet care tips to help ensure your four-legged friends make it through the season safe and sound.

The Season for Indoor Cats (and Dogs)

Whether you have a dog, a cat, or both, you probably know the look: pleading eyes, standing by the door, eager to go and explore the great outdoors. Both dogs and cats love to go outside for various reasons, but winter is a good time to minimize outdoor time.

Cold weather is dangerous for pets, just like it is for everyone else, and freezing temperatures can lead to acute and chronic health issues. Use your best judgement. If the temperature seems uncomfortable and potentially hazardous for humans, it probably is for your cat or dog as well!

A Well-Fed Pet is a Healthy Pet

Harsh winter weather, including the bitter cold that comes with the season, makes offering plenty of food and water a necessity. For healthy dogs and cats, it is not a bad idea to provide a bit more food than usual, as well as a constant supply of fresh water. Of course, good feeding requires a quality cat or dog feeder that will keep your pet’s food and water neat and accessible.

Proper Protection for the Wintry Outdoors

Naturally, you can’t keep your pets cooped up all winter long, as proper pet care necessitates regular outdoor jaunts, especially for dogs. The following are some solid steps you can take to prepare your pet for winter conditions outside:

  • Before taking pets outside, give your home’s immediate area a quick examination, especially your driveway. Antifreeze or other automotive fluids are obviously a danger, as are patches of ice.
  • Booties provide great protection from snow, slush, ice, road salt and other winter hazards. Booties that have traction, can keep pets from slipping. While not as effective as booties, applying a layer of petroleum jelly to paw pads provides some defense against irritants. Even with protection, always examine paws for irritation after getting back inside.
  • Give your dog or cat a good drying with a towel when they get back indoors, and check each paw for irritants. Make sure no excess snow remains, and bathe your pet if necessary.

A Comfortable Home is Healthy for Everybody

When the temperature outside drops outside, cranking up the heat indoors is an understandable impulse. It is true that a warmer environment is preferable to one that is too cold. However, if the heat is on too high this can cause dry, irritated skin in dogs and cats as well as people. It’s even worse for people or pets who are going outside and inside frequently. This is where a humidifier can come in handy for winter pet care.

Take care of your four legged friends and they will take care of you. It’s a little tricky in the winter, but with proper preparation and attention, it’s not so…ruff!

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