Baby, It’s Cold Outside: How to Help Your Pets Stay Safe This Winter!

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A cold and wet winter presents its own series of challenges when it comes to us pets…and mom says this winter has been one of the worst seasons that we have seen.

What can you do to ensure your pets stay safe and warm this winter?

For us indoor cats, life is pretty easy. However, mom says to consider avoiding drafts by repositioning the places where your cat likes to hang out. For example, if your cat’s condo is positioned near the window, consider moving it back a bit to avoid drafts. Something else to keep in mind is where our bed is located – the winter is a good time to change the location of the cat bed from the floor to a higher position – maybe on a shelf, an ottoman or even a dresser top.

If you have feral cats in your backyard, please provide them with a shelter or igloo so that they have protection from the harsh elements. If you don’t have any cats on your property and you want to help, donate a shelter to your local cat rescue group for them to place where they know it is needed.

If you have a car, be sure to pound on the hood before you want to use it to ensure that a kitten or cat did not crawl up into the engine for warmth overnight. Mom says she has already seen a couple news stories of small animals being rescued from inside the hood after the car drove for a distance! And many similar incidents do not end well for the animal!

Mom says we need to take care of our doggie friends too because the cold is a “non-species-specific” problem this time of year – especially for dogs who need to go outside.

Mom says the big thing to remember is that if it is too cold for you to be outside without some protection – it is the same for your dog. Unless your pet is one of the Nordic breeds who are bred for cold weather, please take precaution to protect them accordingly.

It is important to dress them for the cold weather with a sweater or coat. And if you live with snowy and rainy conditions, train your dog to wear little booties, which offer more benefits than just looking cute. Besides protecting them from the cold cement or wet grass underfoot, if there is salt on the ground from snow or slush, your dog will be protected from the nasty chemicals found in the salt that melts the snow.

If your dog will not adapt to the booties, it is important to use one of the paw butters on their paws to help protect them from those chemicals which can burn and irritate the soft tissue under their paws. Salt can also lead to poisoning if the dog licks their paws – so be sure to wash off your pet’s paws after every outdoor visit.

Lastly, try to limit the pet’s outdoor time in the severe cold. Even large dogs can skip a long walk if the weather is below freezing that day. Many pet parents with small dogs have trained their pets to use wee-wee pads for when the weather is terrible. Mom used to have a Yorkie who would never wear the booties, so he would go outside with just the paw butter. But if there was just an inch of slush and salt, Hank would be up to his knees in freezing ice! On days like that, he stayed inside and used the wee-wee pads.

Mom says with a little forethought and some planning, us pets can stay safe and warm this winter, and that’s a good thing!