Tuesday, January 19th, 2016
The colder months are upon us and snow has draped itself over everything outside. White-capped trees, houses and buildings paint a picturesque winter wonderland similar to the icy kingdom in that Disney favorite, Frozen. However, not everything about winter spells out a happily ever after for you or your pets. When temperatures drop, immune systems work a little harder. Now is the time to remember that a runny nose might be manageable for you, but it can be life-threatening for your dog or cat.
Here are some reminders to help keep your pets healthy and warm during winter!
#1 – Schedule your pet’s wellness exam early.
Have your pet take a preventive care exam or a wellness exam because the colder temperatures can worsen existing conditions such as arthritis and other bone deficiencies. The freezing conditions can also start new health issues, so take preventive steps toward ensuring your pet’s optimal health at all times. All pet owners are advised to take their pets to a veterinarian at least once a year. Schedule your visit before the winter season to fully gain the confidence that your pet will be fine when it gets cold.
#2 – Keep your dogs and cats indoors.
Even if your pets are used to playing outside during the warmer months, don’t leave them outdoors when it’s cold and freezing. Despite their higher thresholds for lower temperatures, your dog or cat can’t rely on their fur alone to protect them from the cold. Even dogs bred for colder weather such as huskies and other long-haired breeds should not be kept outside for long periods of time. Your pets are still susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia, so make sure they stay warm inside the house. A simple cold may not be so bad for humans but it can prove to be deadly for pets.
#3 – Set your pet’s limits.
One of the most important things you can do is to study and identify certain limits for your pet. Your pet’s tolerance for cold can vary depending on different factors such as the thickness of the coat, height, weight, total body fat, and overall behavior. Short-haired pets can get cold easier because they lack fur, and short-legged pets can be more prone to cold since their bellies will come into contact with cold surfaces more often. Older dogs and arthritic pets will have more trouble walking so it is best to minimize their exercise outside. Very young pets will have less developed immune systems so they are more susceptible to illness during these months. Moreover, if your pet is suffering from heart, kidney or liver disease, it may experience more difficulty in regulating its body temperature than others.
#4 – Keep your pets well fed.
Your pet’s nutritional needs may vary during winter since they might need more calories to burn to keep their bodies warm. However, you must also be wary of overfeeding your pet since excess weight can lead to further complications. Ask your vet about the proper dietary requirements for your dog or cat during the winter.
#5 – Check your pet’s paws regularly.
Your dog’s paws are susceptible to injury and damage from the cold weather so be sure to check them regularly. Look out for cracked paw pads or any sign of bleeding. Make sure to also check in between their toes because some ice may accumulate there and cause momentary paralysis. One way to prevent this is to trim the hair in between the toes to decrease the odds of ice getting stuck.
#6 – Hire a professional pet sitter to look after your pet.
The winter months are also often the months your family or friends go on vacation. If you are planning to take a trip, it would be wise to hire the services of a professional sitter because not only will he or she know all these preventive tips to keep your pet warm and healthy, he or she will also have access to more ways to ensure your pet’s safety when you are away. Be worry-free when you travel, so trust only a professional to look after your pet.
If you are looking for a kind, caring and highly responsible pet sitter you may get in touch with Pet Nanny. We are passionate about our jobs and we will lovingly keep your pet warm and healthy throughout the winter. For more information, call us at 734-981-6108! You can also fill out our on-line contact form and one of our friendly staff will be in touch shortly.