Even when the weather outside is frightful, your pets probably want to go out and play. Watching them bound through the snow is one of the things we appreciate most about winter — at least someone’s enjoying it, right? But before you unleash them on the outdoors, learn how to make sure they’re safe. As fun as a day in the snow or even a quick trip to the back yard can be, mixing freezing temps with your furry friends can be a slippery slope.
How Cold is Too Cold for Pets?
Keeping your pets outside in frigid temperatures is best kept to a minimum. Your local municipality may even have laws dictating lengths of time and temperatures pets can legally be kept outside. A good way to judge if it’s too cold out is to simply consider your own ability to withstand low temperatures. If it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for them — no matter how furry they are.
Don’t Take Safety with a Grain of Salt
Your daily walk can be a source of discomfort on cold and icy days. Much of the salt people throw on their sidewalks to melt ice isn’t as safe as it seems. Some rock salt products contain harsh chemicals, so be sure to thoroughly wipe their paws, legs and bellies when they return indoors.
There are now various pet-friendly ice melters available, too. Toss some on your sidewalk to help keep your pet and all their neighborhood friends that much safer.
Salt can also be uncomfortable for your dog to walk on. It might look silly, but putting shoes on their paws can prevent the discomfort caused by salt. Plus, it’s another layer of warmth!
You can also spread a thin layer of Vaseline® or other similar products on your pets paws to prevent snow, ice, and salt from sticking between their toes.
Wintertime is Feeding Time
Staying warm requires extra energy. Adding a bigger helping of food to their regular meals helps ensure they have plenty of calories to burn for warmth. As always, hydration is crucial, too. Make sure their water bowls are full of fresh, clean water.
Let it Grow
If you have a long-haired pet, it’s OK to give them a little trim to give snow and ice less to cling to, but don’t cut their hair short. They’ll need as much as possible to keep warm on those especially chilly walks. If you have a short-haired pet, consider giving them some extra layers of warmth with a coat or sweater.
Freeze On the Antifreeze
Pets may find the taste of antifreeze hard to resist. However, it’s highly dangerous for them to ingest. Look for non-toxic options to be extra cautious.
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