Winter Tips for Pet Owners

Daisy Christ
Daisy Christ enjoying the snow.

Winter is here, unfortunately.

Many people think that animals fare better in the cold than humans do. While they do sport fur coats, they aren’t immune to harsh weather conditions and get just as cold as you and I.

Here are a few tips on how to keep your pets safe and healthy during this lovely season, courtesy of the Nassau County SPCA.

If your cat or dog is an “outdoor” pet, bring them inside to warm up, and keep them there. Abrupt temperature contrast can be just as harmful as keeping them out in the cold all the time.

Dogs obviously need to go outside at some point to use the bathroom. Keep these potty breaks short and sweet: have them do their business and let them right back in. If you can, stay out with them so you can properly judge when it’s time to go back inside. Make sure you always stay outside with your animal if you live near a lake or a pond so you can make sure that they don’t fall through thin ice.

During snow or sub-zero temperatures, wipe your pet’s paws and underside when they come in from outside. Ice balls can cling between the toes or on the sole of the foot. Pets that walk on pavement can also pick up rock salt and other substances in their paw pads. They can become sick from the chemicals if they lick their paws before they’ve been wiped thoroughly.

Take extra care of your senior dogs when they go outside in the snow and ice. Like people, their arthritic bones can make them more likely to fall and injure themselves.

Don’t be afraid to get stylish with your pup. Stores everywhere sell sweaters, jackets, raincoats and even boots that you can use to protect your pet from the elements. That being said, you can’t slap a sweater on a dog and leave them out for hours. If the clothing gets wet it will actually start to take away heat and make things worse.

Not everyone is going to keep their cat indoors during the cold weather, and stray cats unfortunately have no place to go. Many times they will seek warmth near or on a car engine, and can be seriously injured or killed when you start your car. The people I rescued Herbie from actually thought that that could have been what happened to him. So please, rap on the hood of your car a couple of times to chase off any cold kitties before you start the engine. For my little man.

Is it Spring yet?