7 Important Tips for Keeping Your Pet Healthy and Comfortable This Winter Season ...

As a pet lover, I thought it might be nice to share some tips for keeping your pet healthy and comfortable this winter as we approach the fall season. It never hurts to be aware of what you might need to do in the next few months to prevent your pet from getting sick, hurt, uncomfortable, or worse. There are many pet safety tips you might not have thought of yet, so I’ve got you covered! Check out these tips for keeping your pet healthy and comfortable this winter so they can be their sweet and playful self all year round!

1. Watch That Antifreeze

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One of the most unique tips for keeping your pet healthy and comfortable that most people, even myself, may not normally think of, is to be careful with antifreeze in the winter. Most of us are accustomed to treating our cars with antifreeze during the winter season to keep our cars running smoothly, but even the smallest puddle of antifreeze can be big trouble if your pet gets into it. Antifreeze has a unique sweet smell that tends to attract cats and dogs. When they are drawn to it, they will try to consume it, which can be big trouble. Antifreeze is toxic to animals and can kill them, so when you change the antifreeze in your garage or driveway, be extra cautious so no drips or puddles are left for them to find.

2. Get a Sweater

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If you’re not into dressing your dog up, that’s fine, but in the winter, do consider a sweater. Even though pets have fur, they need extra warmth in the winter, just like humans do. If you keep your dog inside, invest in a sweater for days the temp gets below 40 degrees outside, and especially if temps get below 20 degrees outside. Even if you keep it toasty in your house, pets can be subjected to colds just like humans can. Keep a lightweight sweater on your pet, which will make a huge difference, and they are minimal in cost.

3. ReConsider the Environment

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If you keep your dog outside, please reconsider the environment during the winter that they live in. All long-haired dogs should be brought inside when temps reach 20 degrees or lower. Please don’t leave your pet outside to freeze. Even if you have a doghouse, dangerously low temperatures could cause major issues for your pet. If you have a short-haired dog that lives outside, experts say they need to be brought in when temps reach 40 degrees.

4. Wash Them off

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If your pet heads outdoors with you, or stays outdoors where you’ve treated your driveway or sidewalks with ice-melting materials, then be sure to wash them off really well once you bring them in. When these ice melting materials hit your pet's feet, it can burn their paws and also leach chemicals into their skin that make them very sick. Ideally, don’t let your pets walk anywhere you’ve treated sidewalks or driveways with chemicals at all.

5. Dry ‘em off

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When letting your dog or cat outside in the winter, be sure to pat them dry with a towel once they come in. If they have ice stuck in their fur, it will melt and can cause them to catch a cold. Just a quick brush off with a towel will do!

6. Protect Their Paws

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If you live in an area where snow is regular, or ice is a consistent occurrence, you need to watch out for ice getting caught in your pet’s paws. If ice gets trapped between the bottom crevices of animals’ paws, it can clump and start to cause your dog to limp, resulting in injury. Consider getting inexpensive rubber padded shoes for them to wear, or be careful to wipe them off as regularly as possible.

7. Fire Safety

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If you don’t live in an area where extreme temperatures are a problem in the winter, you may choose to leave your dog outdoors in an insulated dog house. While it is ideal to bring pets inside, there are a few things to know if you do choose to keep them outdoors. Be sure you do not use a space heater, heat lamp or other heating device. Animals may try to position themselves next to these, resulting in a burn or even death injury. They may also try to chew on the cords of such appliances, resulting in electrical death. It is also a huge fire hazard to keep these appliances in dog houses. Buy an insulated crate instead and use multiple levels of insulation inside, such as wool blankets, and check on them regularly.

Also please keep your pet regularly fed and watered in the winter. Temperatures can cause them to dehydrate and regular meal times will prevent them from getting weak, making them prone to a low immune system. It is never a bad idea to give your pet a multivitamin made for pets to ensure their immune health as well. How do you take care of your pet during the winter?

Sources: mnn.com, vetmedicine.about.com

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