In many parts of the country, we're in the thick of cold, icy, and sometimes snowy winter weather. This can be great in some ways--less insects, no grass to cut, and snow for us and our pets to play in! However, the cold air and wet weather may be detrimental to your pet's well-being. Try these tips from the ASPCA to help your pet have a warm, healthy winter!
- Use a humidifier. The difference in humidity between the snowy outdoors and your dry home can cause paws and skin to become dry and itchy. By running a humidifier in your pet's favorite room, you can help protect their precious paws!
- Give a rinse. When your pet comes in from a stroll outside, rinse off their paws and stomach to ensure ice, salt, and winter chemicals don't make their home on your pet. Make sure you don't miss the spots in between their toes where ice balls and salt crystals can get stuck! After you're done, dry completely with a towel to prevent dry skin.
- That being said, avoid bathing your pet in the winter. Frequent baths can remove the skin's essential oils and increase the chances of skin becoming dry and flaky. If you must bathe your pet, ask your primary care veterinarian for moisturizing shampoo recommendations.
- Protect the paws. For dogs, massaging petroleum jelly into their paw pads can prevent salt or chemicals from sticking to their paws and protect them from the cold to keep skin from drying out. For both dogs and cats, booties can offer even more protection!
- Trim, don't shave! When grooming your pet, trim hair sparingly so he or she stays warm through the cold months. For short hair dogs and cats, or small dogs, purchase a coat or sweater with a high collar with coverage from the 'base of the tail to the belly', says the ASPCA. This will keep them warmer and dryer in the bitter winter weather!
- Keep them 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.
We hope these tips make this a wonderful winter for you and your furry friend! For more tips, make sure to visit the ASPCA website.