Remember, if it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet, so keep your animals inside.
WASHINGTON — Wintry weather has made its way to the DMV, and while preparing for chilling temps you want to make sure everyone in your family is OK — including your pets.
When exposed to winter’s dry, cold air and chilly rain, sleet, and snow, pets can get chapped paws and itchy, flaking skin. Winter walks can even be dangerous if chemicals from ice-melting agents are licked off of bare paws.
Here are some tips from American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) to help prevent cold weather dangers from affecting your pet’s health:
- Keep your home humidified and towel dry your pet as soon as they come inside. Pay special attention to their feet and in-between the toes. Remove any snow balls from between their foot pads.
- Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth. If your dog is long-haired, simply provide a trim to minimize the clinging of ice balls. For short-haired dogs, consider getting a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly.
- Bring a towel on long walks to clean off irritated paws. After each walk, wash and dry your pet’s feet and stomach to remove ice, salt and chemicals—and check for cracks in paw pads or redness between the toes.
- Bathe your pets as little as possible during cold spells. Washing too often can remove essential oils and increase the chance of developing dry, flaky skin.
- Massaging petroleum jelly or other paw protectants into paw pads before going outside can help protect from salt and chemical agents. Booties provide even more coverage.
- 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.
- Pets burn extra energy by trying to stay warm in wintertime. Feeding your pet a little bit more during the cold weather months can provide much-needed calories. Also, making sure they drink plenty of water will help keep them well-hydrated and skin less dry.
- Make sure your furry friend has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.
- Remember, if it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet, so keep your animals inside. If left outdoors, pets can freeze, become disoriented, lost, stolen, injured or killed. In addition, don’t leave pets alone in a car during cold weather, as cars can act as refrigerators that hold in the cold and cause animals to freeze to death.
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