10 Tips to Keep Your Pets Comfortable During Winter
‘Tis the season of shorter days and longer nights. And as the seasons change, our pet’s needs change, too. With winter comes the holidays and festivities. Hence, we might be busy with gifts and delicacies. But, Fifi and Fido would appreciate it if we would take the time to learn how we can make this period merry for them too.
Below are 10 tips to keep your pets comfortable this winter season.
1. Prepare for Pet Anxiety
The holiday season means some time off from work. This brings about house parties and family visits. As more people fill the house, it can bring drastic changes in the household’s activity, noise, and schedule.
The hustle and bustle can be stressful for your pets, especially for one that already suffers from anxiety. For this reason, it would be best to discuss stress management plans with your vet. This way, everyone in the family (including your pets) can savor the celebration with less stress.
One way to reduce stress among pets is to provide them with a quiet space. While your pets are social creatures, they need a break now and then. Therefore, you would want to provide them with a comfortable resting spot, away from the holiday guests. Also, ensure that visiting kids can’t get to them behind your back.
Further, it would be smart to keep an eye out on your pet while visitors come in and out of the house. Your four-legged friends may run out without your knowledge. Crate training can prove important in this kind of circumstances.
Moreover, you might need to know how to solve common pet behavior problems. This will be beneficial in case your pet causes trouble with your guests.
2. Keep Pets Indoors
Every family member should stay inside when the temperature falls. Your pooch delights in outdoor strolls and play, but you would want to limit these activities during the icy months. A quick 10-minute stroll around the block would be good without special gear. Most hours of the day best be spent under the roof.
For cats, it is best to keep them indoors all year round. Cats are more prone to trauma, infections, and predators. Toys and treats can keep them from getting bored, so you might want to invest in these.
Dogs that stay in the yard must have a dry shelter. Their kennel must have a raised flooring; several centimeters above the ground. It should be big enough for comfortable movements, but small enough to keep them warm. Bedding from cedar shavings would be nice.
During the frosty months, the body uses up more energy to keep it warm. Therefore, yard pets require more food than usual. Make sure that your pet’s plastic bowl has fresh water. During winter, it’s best to use a plastic bowl instead of metal. Your pet’s tongue can stick to metal surfaces like their bowl.
3. Make a Snuggly Bed
You wouldn’t want your four-legged friends to sleep on a chilly floor in this weather. For this reason, you have to ensure that their bed is warm enough. Your pooch loves blankets made out of fleece, velour, and microfiber.
A heated bed would be great for older pets as this will help with their stiff joints. Raised beds are good enough for younger pups. Make sure that your pet’s sleeping area is away from concrete floors or cold tiles.
Carpets and curtains may be necessary during the winter. Curtains block out the cold, keeping the house and the whole family warm. Chenille, wool, and velvet are some of the best curtains for winter. Yorkshire Fabric Shop is an online curtain shop, providing a wide range of durable and stylish fabrics for upholstery, cushions, and curtains.
4. Know Whether They Need Winter Gear
Extreme cold can cause hypothermia. Therefore, winter gear may be necessary for pets, especially during trips outdoors.
Furbabies in jackets are adorable. However, not all dog breeds need winter outerwear. Most dogs tolerate the cold temperature better than the hot weather. A few days is enough for dogs to adjust to the cold, but it can take a couple of weeks for a warm climate.
Only the small and short-haired dog breeds (toy breeds, vizslas, etc.) need winter gear. Hence, if your pup has a short coat, she will be more at ease wearing an extra layer when going out.
5. Take Care of the Paws
When you live in a snowy region, people use salt to melt the ice on the streets. These salts are toxic. It’s dangerous for a pet to lick it off. In case of ingestion or salt poisoning, you have to call your vet right away.
Salt grains can cling to your pet’s paw and result in inflammation. Therefore, paw care is a must during this time of year. When going out, protect your dog’s pads by using pet boots. Or, rinse their paws with lukewarm water after a trip outdoors. Remember to dry their paws gently with a towel.
Moisturizing is also important during these skin-drying months. Winter can cause cracked pads to dogs, just like in people. To ward off the flaky skin, you can apply a moisturizer like coconut oil to your dog’s coat, including their ears and tail.
Further, you might want to give them a food supplement to prevent skin damage from the freezing weather.
6. Groom Them Well
Apart from the paws, your pet’s coat also needs extra attention during the frosty months. Your dog needs a well-groomed fur to defend her from the cold. You have to trim your pet’s long hair during winter. This is contrary to the idea that thick long hair will insulate your pet better. Actually, long hair can lead to wet and matted fur.
Matted fur does not provide warmth. Instead, it causes pain, discomfort, or worse--skin infections. For this reason, winter grooming is important as well as thorough drying after every bath.
7. Avoid Overfeeding
As mentioned, pets need more energy to fight the chilly climate. This prompts them to eat more or move less.
Your furry friends might become lazy during the cold winter months. Hence, you have to be mindful of their activity and food intake. High calories can bring about fat accumulation, and you don’t want that. If your pets exercise less, you can decrease their food amount.
Whole foods and meat are the best foods for dogs during this season. It helps with healthy fur and boosted energy. Along with good food, try to pay attention to your pet’s hydration. Your canine friend can dry up fast in winter, just like in summer. Eating snow is not a good alternative for drinking water.
To keep pets hydrated, check whether their bowls are filled. You would want to do the same with pets who stay in the yard.
8. Play When the Sun’s Out
If your furry companion loves your daily stroll, consider doing it before or after lunch hours. This period is a bit less cold than the other time of day.
When the sun comes out, giddy-up, and play fetch outdoors together. Get some vitamin D from the sun, and enjoy some time of movement. Don’t forget to bring out the ball and rubber disc.
9. Keep Poisons Beyond Reach
Antifreeze is a harmful substance. You have to keep it away from pets and children, just like you would with other toxic chemicals. In case of spills, you must clean it right away by letting an absorbent (sand, kitty litter, etc.) soak up the product and wearing rubber gloves before picking it up with paper towels. Keep this substance in a sealed and marked container.
Antifreeze contains ethylene glycol, which has a sweet taste that pets like. This poison can severely damage the kidneys. It leads to lethargy, dehydration, seizures, diarrhea, and worse.
10. Keep Them at a Safe Distance from the Fireplace
The fireplace makes a lovely scene; with the blazing fire and the sound of crackling woods. Fireplaces and heaters keep the family cozy during the cold season. Generally, heat sources are safe around your pets; given that they do not have direct access to them. However, you must ensure that your furry friends maintain a safe distance. You would want to use a fire screen to ensure safety with your pets.
Also, you have to check the fireplace flue before lighting a fire. Look out for cats or other wildlife that may have dwelled in that space. Finally, do not leave heat sources on when you go outdoors.
Thanks for stopping by! I hope that you had fun reading this post. I enjoyed writing this one.
There are a bunch of things to know when it comes to pet care. Hence, we salute all the lovely pet parents out there. We appreciate your dedication to making the home a more comfortable place for furry companions.