As much as we love our furry friends, winter is not the best time to own a pet. Although they do have fur coats, dogs and cats still need extra care and attention during the colder months.
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to keep your pet comfortable and healthy throughout the winter season.
Make Sure They Are Protected From the Cold
Every year, PETA receives many reports of deaths of cats and dogs who were left outside in cold weather. As per it, 22 animals died because of cold weather in 2021.
The cold temperatures can cause pets to get frostbite on their ears, feet, and tails. Your pet’s fur will help protect them from the wind and the elements, but make sure they don’t get too cold. Be aware of any shivering or shaking when you’re outside with your dog or cat because that’s a sign that they need more warmth than they’re getting.
You want to make sure your pets have a warm place to sleep inside and out in the yard if you leave them outside at night. A heated bed or crate is great for this purpose. They also need extra heat when sleeping near a drafty door or window. Make sure those areas are covered with blankets or curtains so that there isn’t any cold air coming through into those spots.
If possible, move their food bowls away from windows since they can freeze over if left out during wintertime. Instead, put them in corners where drafts won’t hit directly on top of them all day long.
Increase Their Amount of Food
Give your dog food with high fiber, fat, protein, and carbs. You can check the nutritional information for various pet food products at online pet stores like PetCareRx. Ordering food from reputable sources ensures that the food is made from natural ingredients and does not contain cheap fillers.
Dogs need more calories in winter. They burn more energy to stay warm and active. So if your dog eats a raw diet, make sure you’re feeding him enough calories per day to keep him strong and healthy. You can give him extra treats like peanut butter or cheese as long as they don’t have added sugar or salt. Those will make his stomach upset.
Foods high in fat help dogs digest food better in cold temperatures because it keeps them warm inside their bodies. Fatty meats like beef liver are good examples. Just remember that these types of meats can be high-calorie too, so only feed small amounts at a time.
Keep Your Dog on a Leash
Your dog may be a good winter-weather companion, but that doesn’t mean you should let him roam free in his coat of fur. In addition to the obvious that he may get frostbite and hypothermia while out in the cold, your dog could also get lost and never come back. According to research done by Trackimo, 15% of cats and 14% of dogs strayed at least once in five years. In them, 25% of cats and 7% of dogs were never found.
If you’re bringing your dog along on a walk or run, make sure he has plenty of water available and make sure you stay close enough to him so that if he slips on ice or snow, you can catch him before he goes all the way down.
Clean Them When They Come In From Outside
The first thing that you should do to ensure your pet stays healthy and happy during winter is clean off their paws, legs, and belly when they come in from outside. This can happen after a walk or run through the snow or simply when they’ve been playing around in the yard.
Use warm but not hot water to wash away any dirt or salt accumulated on their fur and paws. A wet cloth or paper towel will do just fine for this task. Make sure to carefully clean between the pads of their feet as well as their belly and legs.
If there is any visible moisture around their eyes or mouth, check those areas for signs of irritation. This may indicate a sinus infection that might require veterinary attention if left untreated. Also, don’t forget about cleaning their ears.
Encourage Cats to Drink More Water
Cats are just as susceptible to dehydration in the winter as dogs. Keep your cat’s water bowl full and place it in warm spots (such as under the radiator). Try different types of water bowls to see which type your cat prefers. Some cats prefer a shallow bowl with a wide rim, while others like something deep and narrow.
Get Older or Chronically Ill Dogs Checked
As summer winds down and winter weather starts to set in, it’s important to make sure your dog is prepared for the colder months ahead. If you have an older or chronically ill pet, consider scheduling a vet appointment so that they can be assessed before winter weather hits.
In addition to checking for any health issues that may arise due to inclement weather, it’s also important for dogs who suffer from arthritis or other age-related conditions, such as cataracts or glaucoma, to get their medication refilled before the cold weather sets in.
As per The Zebra, there are 370 million cats and 471 million dogs as pets worldwide.
If you’ve ever owned a dog, you know that it’s not just a pet but also a member of your family. And if you have a cat or two, they’re as important to you as any other person in your life.
That’s why we’re so glad that we could share these tips with you today. By taking care of your pets now before things get too cold outside or too busy indoors, you’ll be able to keep them healthy throughout this winter season and beyond.