Here in Northern Nevada, we winterize our sprinkler system. We prepare our car. We, of course, bundle up ourselves and our children.
But, sometimes we fail to do the same for the four-legged family members who live with us.
Just remember, every dog breed handles the cold weather differently — and even indoor cats need to be remembered (even if they never step foot in the snow.) Whether your fluffy partner is an indoor snuggle buddy or an outdoor adventurer, they’re bound to get a little snow on their fur. Here are some tips keep your pet happy and cozy through the cold:
- Keep your dog’s hair long through the winter months! This will help them to stay warm while the weather is cold. If your dog has thin fur or isn’t as prepared against the winter elements, consider bundling him or her up in a coat that covers the chest and abdomen.
- Feet on your dogs’ nearly always need protection, especially if you’re hiking long distances with your furry companion. But, remember, a walk doesn’t have to be long for your pup to be injured by ice or salt on the roads and sidewalks. Dog boots or Musher’s wax can help.
- When approaching icy ponds, keep your dog on a leash. You don’t know what patches are unable to support your dog’s weight.
- For your cats that go outdoors (or dogs), there is always risk of poisoning from the sweet-tasting antifreeze left on roads or driveways. Always be vigilant that you keep it picked up, and your pup or cat isn’t licking it up off the ground, as it can cause kidney failure.
- If you bring your plants indoors for the winter to keep them from freezing, remember that cats often like to nose around in the pots — and may even try tasting the new plant that is now suddenly in their domain. A lot of plants are poisonous to our friends, so be sure to check!
- Taking your dog out on snowy walks in the winter can be an adventure to remember, but be sure that you wash their paws afterwards. While they might love sprinting and rolling in the snow, the salted sidewalks and roads can irritate their paws. A simple washing and drying of your dog’s paws after each walk goes a long way to making sure your pup is happy and healthy.
- Sometimes cats will try to keep warm in the most inconvenient of places, like under the hood of your car. Often times a simple knock to the hood of your car will startle the cat into meowing or leaving altogether.
- Puppies, short haired dogs, and older dogs can be more sensitive to the cold so beware of cold temperatures. Older dogs with Arthritis should not be left outside, as this is painful on their joints. Escort them out to use the restroom so that they do not slip and fall. Make sure not to leave your pup in the car, as in the cold weather it can hold in cold temperatures like a refrigerator.
- Hydration is key, a fresh supply of water is very important for your pets health. In the winter it might be best to use a plastic bowl so your furry friends tongue does not become stuck on the cold metal. Frequently make sure you check water in bowls is not freezing, sometimes a heated bowl can help.
- Staying Warm: Don’t forget to set out an extra blanket for your pet. They’ll appreciate it!