Cold weather means bundling up in warm clothes, cooking comfort food and winterizing your vehicles. As the temperature drops, don’t forget to winterize your pets, too!
Here are a few tips to keep your animal companion healthy and happy through the cold, snowy months.
- Keep up with grooming. While you don’t want to shave long-haired dogs, you do want to keep the coat and paws trimmed to minimize clinging ice balls, de-icing chemicals and salt crystals. Don’t bathe too often, however; baths remove essential oils and increase the chance of developing dry, flaky skin.
- Dry off after being outside. Remove ice, moisture, salt and chemicals from your pet with a towel after every walk or outdoor excursion. Pay special attention to paws and between toes. Try protecting your pet’s paws and pads with a thin coating of petroleum jelly before heading outside.
- Check that de-icer. Most sidewalk de-icers are full of chemicals that are dangerous to our pets. The most common ones are made of calcium carbonate, calcium magnesium acetate, or chloride salts of potassium, magnesium, and sodium. Calcium-based salts are the most hazardous if they are ingested or even if they just rest on the skin, as they can cause severe irritation on your pet’s paws.
- Beware antifreeze. Like coolant, antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol.
- More food and plenty of water. Pets burn extra energy trying to stay warm, so feeding your pet a bit more in winter can provide supplemental calories. Hydration is also extremely important in the cold months, and pets need several unfrozen sources of water.
- Don’t leave pets in cars! Just as vehicles can quickly become ovens in summer, they can also become refrigerators in very cold weather, and pets could freeze to death inside.
- Bring them indoors. You may be used to the Vermont cold, but think about your pet’s needs when the temperature drops. And never leave your pet outside when there’s icy rain or it’s snowing.
If you have questions or need assistance preparing your pet for winter, give us a call at (802) 985-2525.