Are You Prepared to Keep Your Pet Safe This Winter?

Winter is upon us, and depending on where you live it comes with many challenges. Bad roads, salt build up on cars, and extra traffic are just the start, not to mention the short days and frigid temperatures. One of the problems of winter that people may overlook is how hard it can be for pet owners and the pets themselves.

Pets need as much protection and consideration as people do in the winter. Make sure you’re prepared for winter with your pets by understanding the challenges they may face. From the temperature to human created hazards, you and your pets need to approach winter with a different mindset.

The Challenges of Winter on Pets

Winter brings a number of challenges we’re already familiar with, such as cold temperatures and increased freezing rain and snow. Those issues also create problems of their own such as dry skin, illness, or injuries that come from navigating the icy streets.

The problem for our pets is they face challenges we easily overlook because they don’t affect us. These challenges include dry skin when going back and forth from a heated home to the cold outdoors, or road salt hurting your dog’s foot pads.

These are the types of issues that pets face in the winter:

  • Skin irritation and flaking
  • Cracked pads due to salt and dry air
  • Weight gain from increased calorie consumption & less exercise
  • Hazards from chemicals that leak out of cars

There are also challenges that outdoor pets face in the winter even if you think they are “used to” the weather. While outdoor pets should still have dry shelters they can retreat to, you should still bring them indoors when temperatures hit drastic lows. Additionally, it takes a lot of calories to stay warm in the winter, so both indoor and outdoor pets may need more food than usual along with more water.

The Steps to Take to Help Your Pets During Cold Weather

There are things you can do to help your pets survive the winter as well as make the process easier on you and your family. These steps are designed to prevent the problems pets face in the winter or to help heal them if they get hurt or have any problems.

Keeping certain items on hand and following these habits can help make winter easier for you and your pets:

  • Rub coconut oil on their pads to prevent cracking and dryness
  • Wash their belly and paws after long walks
  • Avoid cutting their hair short
  • Keep elderly, young, and small dogs inside longer and limit walks in bad weather
  • Provide extra water and food in the winter
  • Avoid walking in areas where cars park more than usual as fluids leak out of cars more often in winter

If you want to learn more about being prepared for the winter with your pets or want to make sure your pet is healthy before the cold weather sets in, contact us at Riverside Animal Center today. Our veterinary professionals can help get you all ready for the winter!