4 Tips for Keeping Your Dog Healthy This Winter.
Is it true what they say: if you're cold, they're cold? Let's talk about winter safety for your pets.
'If you're cold, they're cold.'
If you have a pet like a cat or a dog, that's a quote that you should keep in mind all winter long. Because even though your pet obviously can't tell you that they're cold, they're going to get cold when the temperature drops, and it could affect their health if you're not careful.
Generally speaking, most dogs will start to get uncomfortable in the cold anytime the temps fall below 45 degrees. The same is true for cats that spend most of their time indoors.
And if the temps get even lower than that? You could potentially put your cat or dog into some real trouble. Just like humans, cats and dogs can face hypothermia, frostbite, and other dangerous health complications tied to the cold.
Here are four tips that will help you take care of your pets and keep them healthy this winter.
1. Feed Your Pet Properly and Watch Their Weight
As a pet owner, you should make sure your cat or dog eats properly all year long, not just in the winter. But it's especially crucial for your pet to get the nutrients they need when the winter rolls around.
Some pet owners are under the impression that they need to 'fatten up' their cats and dogs in the winter. They give them a little bit of extra food every day to pack a few extra pounds on them, in the hopes that the additional weight will keep them warm throughout the winter months.
But this is not the approach that you should take! All that extra weight might keep them warmer, but it can also lead to other health-related issues.
Instead, feed your pet the right amount of food and watch their weight to make sure they stay in the healthy range. Provide them with healthy treats that will show them you care without harming their health.
The only time you might want to consider giving a pet more food in the winter is if you have an outdoor cat. These cats can usually use a few additional calories to keep them warm in the winter.
However, you should always consult with your veterinarian before you decide to start feeding your pet more than usual. The last thing you want to do is unknowingly put your pet into harm's way when you think you're helping them.
2. Avoid Leaving Your Pet Outside For Long Periods of Time
In the spring, summer, and fall, you might let your pet roam around outside as much as they want. You might also take your pet on long walks to make sure they're getting more than enough exercise.
You're welcome to do those things during the other seasons if you choose to do it. But you should not subject your pet to the cold temperatures by leaving them outside for long periods in the winter.
Some people think that cats and dogs are better prepared to handle the cold than humans because of their fur. But outside of a few cat and dog breeds that are more tolerant of the cold than others, pets are a lot like humans. That means that if you're cold, they're cold.
You should still allow your pet to spend a little bit of time outside in the winter so that they can use the bathroom and get a few minutes of exercise. But you should not leave them outdoors for any more than a few minutes at a time, especially when the temperature is below freezing.
Additionally, you should invest in cat and dog sweaters and jackets for your pet for those times when it's freezing out. They'll provide your pet with an extra layer and keep them comfortable when they're outdoors.
3. Check Your Pet's Paws When They Come In From Outside
When you walk around outside in the wintertime, you likely do it while wearing winter boots. Reason being, you want to protect your feet from snow, ice, and more as best you can.
Your pet, on the other hand, doesn't have this luxury. Unless you have booties for them to wear, they have to walk around outside barefoot, which can expose their feet to snow and ice as well as rock salt, deicers, antifreeze, and so much more.
Every time your cat or dog comes inside from the cold, you should sit down and take a look at their feet to make sure they don't have anything stuck in them. You should also inspect their feet to see if you notice any bleeding or cracked paw pads.
If you come across anything suspicious, it's best to seek medical care for your pet right away. You don't want to allow a foot or paw problem to linger and get worse over time.
4. Look Out For Any Signs of Health Problems
No matter how hard you try to protect your pet from the cold, there's a chance they're going to be forced to deal with a health problem at some point. So keep a lookout for any signs that show your pet is dealing with a health issue.
You should be concerned if your pet:
- Whines excessively
- Shivers long after exposed to cold weather
- Appears weak or lethargic
- Seems anxious
- Struggles to walk
All these signs could indicate a problem with your pet's health. You should take them to the vet as soon as you can to get them checked out.
If You're Cold, They're Cold! Keep That in Mind This Winter
'If you're cold, they're cold.'
Say that sentence to yourself over and over again this winter, especially when you're thinking about how cold it is outside. By doing it, you'll remind yourself that your pet is probably just as cold as you are and in need of your attention.
You should also be very mindful about caring for pets that have arthritic conditions in the winter. Cold weather can make arthritis worse than usual and make your pet very uncomfortable. Consider using a product like CBD Hemp & Salmon Oil to provide your pet with some much-needed relief.
Check out our blog to learn more about the benefits of using CBD oils for dogs.