Walking your dog
You know how much Riedi & Margi love walking and when the weather gets colder, I sometimes tend to slack off a bit. I am a warm weather girl. However if you tend to walk your pets while the weather is cold, remember that if you are cold and need to bundle up, they probably do too.
This is especially true of short haired dogs that have even less fur to warm them. You may want to try putting a sweater on them for your walk. Some dogs with a thicker coat like huskies may not need one, it just depends on each individual dog and how cold the weather is. I was able to get a sweater on Riedi, but Margi wouldn’t let me near her with it!
You also need to take into consideration their paws when walking pets in cold weather. If you are able to get them to wear booties, that’s great (mine won’t). Remember that when the weather gets colder, chemicals and salt are often put on the roads and sidewalks.
You’ll want to moisturize their paws before their walk, thoroughly wash their paws as soon as you come inside so they don’t have a chance to lick them and ingest any salt or chemical they may have walked through. You’ll then want to re-moisturize them. They can get dry cracked paws just like we get dry cracked hands and feet. Imagine walking out in the cold barefoot!
While it’s good to exercise your pets, the temperature change from cold outdoors to warm house can give your pets flaky skin. They need plenty of hydration, including fresh water and also make sure your humidifier is cleaned and properly working. This will help you too! If you think your pet’s skin is looking too flaky, contact your veterinarian to make sure that they aren’t in need of medical attention or medication. Riedi had particularly flaky skin one year and needed a medicated shampoo to get him cleared up.
As the weather gets colder, we often put antifreeze in our cars, but remember that most antifreeze has sweet smell and taste that is attractive to animals. Some manufacturers have added a bittering agent to their products to deter animals from eating it. However this only makes it bitter and doesn’t make it safe for animals. The best prevention from antifreeze poisoning is to thoroughly clean any spills immediately and put any open or unopened containers in a secure place that animals cannot get to. Find out more on the bittering agent at PetMd.com.
Tap, Tap, Tap
When the temperatures get cold, and even when they just dip lower overnight, make sure you tap the hood before starting your car. Your pets, neighbors pets, feral animals or wildlife may have sought a warm place to sleep and be hiding out in the engine. If you simply start the car and go, they won’t have time to escape out.
One spring morning when I was about 7, my mom and I came out of church service to find everyone trying to catch a cat that was loose in the parking lot. It didn’t take long to realize that it was my cat, Nike. (No I didn’t name HER and yes, she’s named after the shoe!)
Nike had ridden under the hood all the way to church, about a 10 minute drive! She was so lucky that she managed to hold on for that distance and that we found her and took her home. Fortunately she didn’t have any life threatening injuries. She did, however get her tail caught and had to have it amputated, but it was a battle scar that could have been much worse. She lived a long life and I always made sure she wasn’t stow away in the car anymore after that.
When the temperatures drop, it’s best to bring your pets indoor. They can suffer from wind chill, hypothermia or frostbite. Their exposed skin can be especially sensitive. They can get frostbite on their nose, ears, tails and paws, which can result in permanent damage!
Your pets need to have plenty of fresh food and water during the cold months. If you use metal bowls, replace them in the winter so that they don’t freeze. Your pet’s tongue could stick to a frozen metal dish! You may also want to increase their food intake since they burn more energy trying to stay warm.
For pets that are outside in the cold weather, they need a raised house. If it is directly on the ground, the frozen ground will make their shelter too cold. Make sure it is filled with something to keep them warm, straw and blankets. Be careful of electric heated beds and check out the beds now available that use the same technology used for space blankets! It reflects their own body heat back to them! This sounds really ingenious and I can’t wait to try one. With Riedi & Margi getting older, It’ll be good to have on their inside bed too.
Don’t Wait for Bad Weather, Be Prepared
If a cold snap or severe weather hits, you want to be prepared and not searching the empty store shelves for your pet’s food and medications. If you haven’t received my Pet Parent Safety Forms, which include a Go Kit List, get them now!
Please remember if it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for your pets, bring them inside! They’re a part of the family and that’s where they belong!
I’d love to hear any cold weather tips you have to share in the comments.
Blogs on this site may contain Amazon and other affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small commission.