"Looking Outside"  by Scott Liddell  2014

“Looking Outside” by Scott Liddell 2014

As the weather gets colder, we naturally dress in layers, get out that warm downy coat, the hat and gloves and take precautions against the coming storm.  But what about your pets? They have their own fur coats, right? They should be fine in the winter weather, right? Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.  As a pet owner, it’s up to you to take the necessary steps to make sure your furry friend is protected.  Here are a few tips to keep in mind.

Tip # 1:   Bring Them Inside

Even if you  have a Siberian Husky who absolutely loves running around in the snow, it’s never a good idea to leave them outside for long periods of time.  The dangers of frostbit on the paws, lowered body temperature, and hypothermia are all too real. If you have an “outside pet”  consider giving them a heated and dry shelter where they can go to warm up, or maybe turning them into an “indoor/outdoor” pet.  Both of you might enjoy the companionship!

Tip # 2:   Groom Them Regularly

While most people are concerned about grooming their pets during the spring and summer at the height of the shedding season, the colder months are when grooming becomes even more essential.  Depending on how much time your pet spends outside, a well groomed coat can help your dog or cat stay properly insulated.  Also, if your dog has a shorter coat, consider getting it a sweater to help keep it warm.

Tip # 3:  Give Them Plenty of Water

Dogs and cats can get easily dehydrated, even in the winter months.  Since snow is not a viable alternative- it lowers their body temperature too fast- be sure to have plenty of fresh clean water on hand for them to drink.

Tip # 4: Use Caution When Going for Walks

Winter time walks, although enjoyable for both you and your pet do pose some serious dangers.  Antifreeze, which can leak from various cars on the roads smell and taste quite good to your dog, but it is poisonous, and can kill them.  Also, remember that dogs can have the habit of trying to pick up and eat various things on the walk. Some of these things can make the animal quite sick. It’s best tp pay attention during the walks and prevent your pet from coming in contact with anything suspicious.   Also, be sure to wash your pet’s feet when you come back inside- rock salt can be a huge irritation.

Tip # 5  Keeping Your Cat Warm

If you have a cat, you know how finicky they can be potentially.  However, their fickleness when it comes to staying warm is well founded- cats don’t adjust easily to drastic changes in temperature.  If you have an indoor/outdoor cat try and regulate how much time they spend outside in the cold, and watch for signs of hypothermia and frostbite.  Also, be sure to provide them with a warm and dry place to sleep, and consider moving the litter box to a warmer place than the basement or garage.  After all, you wouldn’t want to go to the bathroom in the equivalent of an outhouse during the winter, would you?

These are just a few tips to help you make the winter months more enjoyable for your pet.   I would love to hear some other ones you have come up with!