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Winter Care Tips for Your Pet

Posted by: Mira Roberts
Doggie Dip Day at Commonwealth at York

High heat and the summer season tend to get the most attention when it comes to pet care, but winter comes with its own risks and dangers, too. In winter, it's important to remain vigilant about giving your pet proper care, especially when temperatures drop below freezing or during icy, snowy conditions.

Winter care for your pets doesn’t just begin with cold weather, though. The start to the new year is a perfect time to make sure that your dog or cat are up to date on vaccinations and have seen their veterinarian for a checkup within the last year. It’s also a good time to re-evaluation their diet, as they may be getting less exercise during winter months, and you’ll likely want to consult their veterinarian on how changes in lifestyle directly affect your breed or pet.

Here are basic winter care tips to help you provide your pet with the best care possible this season, so you and your pet can meet the spring season feeling better than ever!

Schedule Annual Checkup
Older pets can experience increased symptoms related to arthritis in winter, and winter is a good time to take general stock of your pet’s health to ensure they’re healthy and feeling their best. It’s also a good time to make sure they’re current on their vaccination schedules and are getting proper nutrition to meet their lifestyle.

Tolerance to Cold
Some pets do better in cold temperatures than other, much like humans do. If you know your pet has a lower tolerance to cold, make sure to take extra steps now to ensure their comfort. Pick up new sweaters and jackets for them to wear on walks, and purchase a new, fluffier bed to help keep them warm when they sleep. Your pet may need more cuddling or attention in general, so be ready to warm up their hearts, as well.

Monitor Paws & Wipe Down
During cold months, it’s important to watch your pet’s paws after spending any time outdoors, to watch for ice, sidewalk salt and other chemicals used to treat ice. Make sure to avoid sidewalks that are clearly covered in ice or salt, and be sure to wipe down your pet’s paws, belly and body after spending time romping around outdoors.

Bundle Up
When temperatures drop to near freezing, bundle up your pup before heading out for a walk. Even if your pup has a better tolerance to cold, it’s best to be safe rather than sorry in extreme conditions. If you have a small dog with short hair, be sure to choose a sweater or jacket that provides maximum warmth, as their tolerance to cold may be much lower than your neighbor’s bull mastiff.

Avoid Ice
In general, try to avoid walking your pup anywhere near ice in winter. This can be difficult after a snowstorm, but do the best you can to stay on grassy sections, avoid sidewalks and keep away from ice. Ice is slippery and cold for your pet’s paws, but it may also come with harsh chemicals sprayed on it or sidewalk salt, both of which can be damaging to your pup’s paws and skin.

Protect Against Poisoning
Make sure to keep antifreeze locked up and stored away from your pet, and wipe up any spills outdoors. Keep medications, cleaning products and sidewalk salt locked away as well, and remember that your pet can be poisoned easily by ingesting even a small amount of cleaning products or antifreeze.

Stay Home
When in doubt, just stay home. If a blizzard is blowing through the area, roads are obviously icy and temperatures are severe, avoid heading out as much as possible, to ensure both your safety and the safety of your pets.

About the Author
Mira Roberts Gravatar
Mira Roberts

Mira Roberts studied writing at New York University, graduating with a BA in English Literature before pursuing a career in media, marketing and management with PARADE Magazine, Portfolio Magazine, AltDaily, skirt! and lululemon athletica. A full time mother, writing instructor and part-time freelance writer, Mira lives and laughs with her family in Norfolk, VA. 


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