Hey there! Olive the Dog blogger here. The weather outside has been getting increasingly frightful, and my canine contacts from up north tell me it’s going to be a long, cold arctic winter. With this insight, I’m glad that we have great heating throughout our home, and I am inspired to remind everyone on how to keep your furry friends safe during the winter. We may have a hunch to explore, but every dog and cat knows there’s no place like home and comfort with your people. Here are some important tips:
Keep Pets Warm and Indoors
When the temperature drops, that’s your sign to let your animal friends inside. Don’t leave dogs or cats outdoors. Even if the temperature is not that low, windchill can still threaten a pet’s life. Pets are highly sensitive to severe cold and are at risk for frostbite and hypothermia when outdoors even faster than their humans because of their smaller size. Skin that is exposed on ears, noses, and paw pads can freeze quickly and cause permanent damage. On that note, regardless of the season, animals that are outdoors often should always be supervised.
Take Necessary Precautions if your Pet is Often Outdoors
Dogs and cats are healthiest and happiest when at home indoors with their owners. If they are in fact outdoors for a large part of their day, provide a dry, draft-free shelter large enough to allow for comfortable sitting and laying, but also snug enough to hold in your furry friend’s body heat. Be sure that the floor is covered with cedar shavings or straw, and is raised some inches off the ground. Also check that the house is turned away from the wind, and that the doorway is covered with either heavy plastic or waterproof burlap. Trust me, these are the specifics I tell my people and my outside winter shelter is always the best on the block.
Give Your Pets Plenty of Water
Winter is all about keeping warm, and because keeping warm depletes energy, pets need more food and water in the winter. Routinely check your pet’s water dish to make sure the water is fresh and unfrozen (if outdoors). Also, let’s keep the Christmas Story frozen tongue scene outside of pet world. Use plastic food and water bowls rather than metal, because when the temperature is low, your pet’s tongue can stick and unfortunately freeze to metal (if this happens warm water will do the trick).
Watch what your Pets are Eating
Watch out for your curious friends, they love to chew on anything. Keep them away from chocolate, plants, holly berries and leaves, and tinsel. Also watch out for antifreeze. Because of its sweet taste, it can be irresistible to the curious of us pets. Antifreeze can be deadly to a pet if it isn’t treated very quickly after ingesting it. If you think your pet has ingested some, don’t wait to see if it gets sick, immediately take it to the veterinarian. To be safe, place all of your antifreeze containers on a high shelf and make sure your car is not leaking it. If you think your pet has eaten something dangerous, call the Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.
Salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice can really irritate the delicate pads of our feet. The trick to avoid any irritation is to wipe our paws with a damp towel before we lick them and also irritate our mouth.
The best prescription for furry friend winter care is to keep your dog or cat inside with you and your family. The happiest pets are those who are taken out often for fresh air, walks, and exercise but kept inside the rest of the time. They are social animals who crave human companionship. Your animal friends deserve to live indoors with you and your family.