In some parts of the country, going outside in the winter is something you have to prepare yourself for. While your furry friend may be naturally better equipped to cope with the chill, your pet’s domesticated lifestyle means you should take care to prepare him or her for the winter just as you take measures for yourself.
Keep your dog or cat safe, happy, and healthy over the next few months with the following tips to keep your pet safe.
Know Your Breed’s Needs
Some dogs, such as Akitas, Eskimos, chow chows, and German shepherds, handle cold weather better than others. Other breeds, particularly border collies, American foxhounds, and most retrievers, do a little better in the winter than we humans do. Cats, in general, can’t handle snow or freezing temperatures and should be safely kept in your apartment at all times.
Pet Proof Your Apartment
Do you supplement your apartment’s heater with space heaters or other standalone heating devices? If so, only use these when you’re at home. Try to arrange them so your pets can’t touch them, as they could get burnt or knock them over. If you haven’t already pet proofed your apartment, now is a good time.
Keep Outdoor Walks to a Minimum
Keep brutal-weather outings to a minimum bathroom run and brisk morning walks when it’s just too cold outside. A pet sweater can help keep your pet more comfortable, but only to an extent. If it’s too cold for you, chances are it’s too cold for your pet.
Use alternative exercises to keep your pet in shape such as doga (dog yoga) or indoor swimming. You can even tire your dog out from the comfort of your apartment with squat teases. Another alternative is to
As urban areas become increasingly pet friendly, it’s easier to find places to play indoors with your pet during the cold and rainy months. If you sense your pet is feeling cooped up and restless, look around for places that offer indoor outlets for exercise or take your pup to day care. If you live in a pet friendly apartment home, you can even exercise your dog for limited periods of time on rooftop or courtyard pet runs.
Protect Those Paws
When you do walk your dog, wipe down their paws, legs, and belly to clean up any toxic or potentially painful debris they might have picked up. Antifreeze, salt, and other de-icers accumulate on roads and sidewalks during winter. Unless cleaned off, these elements can make your dog itchy or even ill. You can also consider boots for your furry friend. Their are many options including PAWZ Dog Boots that are disposable and reusable…and cost a bit less then actual shoes for your pet.
Pull Out an Extra Blanket
A pet sweater can only make your dog a bit more comfortable outside, but can really help inside. You can also consider changing up your pet’s bed area by adding extra pillows or blankets to snuggle up with. Your dog or cat may wiggle right out of this extra bedding if you try to tuck him or her in, but you just might wake up in the morning to see his or her body burrowed underneath it, clearly thankful for the extra warmth.
Keep that Coat Full and Long
If you typically shave your dog, consider dropping this habit for the colder months. Not only will you save some cash, but your pet is will be a bit more comfortable as his or her natural defenses against the cold are used. If this isn’t an option, then definitely invest in some nice, warm winter canine apparel.
We’re not suggesting you take a hiatus from grooming your pet. Just allow his or her hair to grow out a bit, the way you might worry less about shaving and trimming your own hair during the winter months.
Leash, Collar, and Chip Your Pet
Keep your dogs on leash on snow or ice, and especially during a snowstorm. They could get lost easily. Make sure your pet wears I.D. tags at all times. And last but not least, microchip your pet! It’s a permanent means of identification, but it’s essential to keep the registration up to date.
Follow these tips to keep your pet safe, and don’t stay outside too long! Once the last of the winter snow melts, you and your pet can go outside and celebrate for as long as you’d like together.
What are your favorite ways to exercise or cozy up with your pet indoors during the winter? Share in the comments!
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