Temperatures are dropping fast, and for pet owners, that means it’s time to make adjustments to your pet’s care. Take a look at the tips below to keep your pet healthy and protected all winter long.
Salt and other ice-melters can be toxic to pets, so be sure to protect them from such substances. It’s helpful to get boots for your dog so they aren’t walking directly on rock salt, as it can irritate their paws. Also, be watchful of whether you track any ice melt into your home. Vacuum your entryway frequently to keep curious critters from eating any particles. Wipe off their paws after walks or if you think they may have come in contact with any irritants, so they don’t lick it off themselves.
If you are a dog owner, also be mindful of the temperature. Even cold-weather breeds shouldn’t be outside for long in low temperatures. Note also that the smaller the dog, the more susceptible they are to the cold. A general rule of thumb is that if the temperature is below freezing, dogs shouldn’t be outside for more than a few minutes. For more specific guidance, refer to this chart.
If you have a cat who insists on staying outdoors or if you want to give relief to neighborhood strays, there are plenty of ways to help out. Just putting out some food is an easy way to help them survive the winter. If you’re feeling a little more ambitious, there are many resources online that will walk you through how to build a winter shelter for feline friends. If you know there are a lot of outdoor cats in your area, you may also need to check your car on chillier days, as some cats will sleep in the wheel wells to take advantage of any residual engine heat.
Remember, if you see an animal that you think is being left in the cold too long, you can always call your local animal control to assess the situation. We hope these tips help you and your pets safely enjoy the winter weather!