Just like us, our four-legged friends feel the sting of winter. Here's some tips to keep them comfortable and happy (who better to ride it out with 'till spring?
Repeatedly coming out of wet, chilly weather into a warm house can lead to skin irritation. Keep your home humidified and towel-dry your pet as soon as he/she comes inside (pay close attention to feet and in-between toes).
Check your pet’s paws frequently for signs of cold-weather injury, such as cracked paw pads or bleeding. You may be able to reduce ice accumulation by clipping the hair between the toes. If your pet is open to booties, they're also a great option.
Too Cold For You? It's Too Cold For Them
In low temperatures, pets can freeze, become disoriented, lost, stolen, injured or worse. Just as in summer, never leave pets in a car in extreme temperatures. Cars actually hold in the cold (or heat) and magnify the temps.
Watch For Toxins
De-icers, antifreeze, salts and more show up anywhere and everywhere in winter. They're not only irritating to delicate paws, but can be deadly. Be sure to clean your pet's paws thoroughly, and if they start to act "drunk" or begin to convulse, take them to the vet immediately. This could be a sign of antifreeze poisoning.
Have Plenty of Food On Hand
Since it takes more energy to stay warm when it's cold, outdoor animals typically eat more during the winter (speak with your vet for recommendations). Digestive enzymes and probiotics, along with a nutrient boost like Healthforce Green Mush can also be beneficial all year 'round. Make sure to check their water bowls for freezing, too.
...But Watch For Excessive Weight Gain
If your pet seems to be packing on too much winter weight, see your vet and ask them to show you the warning signs. The ribs and spine are two of the spots most likely to indicate abnormal weight gain.
Maintain A Winter Exercise Routine
If your pet is used to being active, create a modified exercise plan for the winter months. This could be indoor fetch, a romp through the snow or a brisk hike on clear days. If winter exercise proves difficult, you may want to cut back the calories to compensate for reduced activity and metabolic function. Speak with your vet for details.
Support The Joints
If your dog is older, a supplement with glucosamine and chondroitin can help ease their discomfort (cold temps tend to exacerbate pain and stiffness).