Winter is usually a time to snuggle up and stay warm, and this includes our pets too. When the temperatures drop and the ground is blanketed in snow, pet parents will need to change their furry one’s daily routine to keep them happy, safe, and warm until spring comes along.
Here are some winter care tips to make this winter a lovely one for both you and your pet!
OUTDOOR WINTER CARE
When your pet is outside, always keep an eye on them, and make sure they have access to an enclosed shelter with enough food and water if they are out for an extended amount of time. After being outside, blankets and heavy towels are a terrific method to keep your pet warm.
LIMIT THEIR TIME OUTSIDE
In order to protect you and your four-legged friend from weather-related dangers. You will want to limit their time outside and this includes walks. Even long-haired breeds can be vulnerable to the cold when exposed for long periods. Short-haired breeds can be more susceptible to changes in temperature, and smaller pets can get colder faster as they are more likely to come in contact with the snow.
Darkness makes it more difficult to spot threats, so it’s safer to walk or play during the day. If you have to be outside at night, use LED collars, hi-vis leashes, and reflective jackets to help ensure that both you and your pet are noticed.
When your pet is out and about, their fur will usually keep them warm, but pets with thin coats as well as those that are older or sick may be more sensitive to the cold. A winter jacket is recommended to keep them warm on chilly outings.
Before and after walks check their paws for any signs of damage, including cracked pads or bleeding. Dry their feet, legs, and tummy completely after they’ve spent time outside to help remove snow, road salt, and any other chemicals.
Dog booties will help protect your furry friend from potentially dangerous chemicals, such as antifreeze and de-icers. Some de-icers out there are labelled as pet-friendly, but most are not. Your pet can get sick if they lick any chemicals off their fur.
In cold and wet weather, cats will often seek cover beneath automobiles, or even jump under the hood to be near a heated engine. Before starting your automobile, always check for unexpected guests who may have gotten inside or under the hood.
INDOOR WINTER CARE
Keeping your pet indoors during the winter months will help keep them safe from outside threats during the season, but there are also measures you can take while indoors to help combat the winter chill.
KEEP THEM COMFORTABLE
Over the winter months, some additional blankets for their bed will keep your pet warm and comfy.
To help them feel comfortable, lift the bed off the ground and add an additional blanket. However, don’t put the bed too high, as chilly temperatures can be especially hard on senior dogs and cats with aching joints.
KEEP THEM ACTIVE
Your pet still needs exercise and stimulation to keep them entertained. A bored pet can act out, resulting in behavioural issues. Get some new toys and be sure to play on a regular basis, especially if they aren’t out as much during the winter. Cats are most active at dawn and dusk (peak hunting time), so make an effort to play with them during those times.
MORE SENSITIVE PETS
Cold weather can be harder on both senior pets and younger ones, as well as pets with underlying health conditions, as they have a more difficult time regulating their body temperature. Be mindful of keeping a healthy exercise regime during winter without overdoing it.
Be extra careful with them as they may get tired faster and show signs of discomfort. Rigidity, licking particular joints, trouble going up or downstairs, eating slowly, and obvious behavioural changes are a few signs to watch out for.
GENERAL WINTER CARE
COLLAR AND CHIP
In the winter, pets can get lost because snow and ice can mask known odours that would help them find their way home. Your pet should be wearing a well-fitted collar with updated contact information. You should ensure your pet is microchipped and files are current with up-to-date information, and that they are registered with Animal Services in your local municipality.
Some medical conditions, such as arthritis, may worsen with lower temperatures. In cold weather, pets with diabetes or heart illness may have difficulty controlling their body temperature; it is important to take your pet to the veterinarian for any issues that may arise. Adult pets should routinely visit the vet, and senior pets are generally on a bi-annual schedule to stay on top of any potential health issues.
As a final word, the best winter care tip we can give you is to keep a close eye on your pet and show them lots of love! There’s nothing like cuddles to keep your furry friend happy. We hope these tips help you have a fun and lovely winter season!
If your four-legged friend is showing signs of distress, changes in behaviour, or any symptoms, contact your vet right away.
We hope this article has proved informative! Please contact the team at Wellesley if you have any further questions or concerns about pet parasites. We recommend you take the time to talk in detail with one of our licensed veterinarians. They will provide the best suggestions and strategies for your pet. For an appointment, please contact us at 416-966-1830.