Winter Weather & Pet Safety
We may be in the south, but we still get our fair share of winter weather and freezing temperatures. Not only can this make daily life a little bit more difficult for us as we navigate from place to place, but it can also alter your pet’s day-to-day life too. While we want to make sure our pets’ lives only change slightly during the winter and that they are still getting outdoor time and quality exercise, we also want to make sure they’re kept safe throughout.
Keep your home humidified & your pet dry
We’re sure you understand how fragile your skin can be during the cold winter months and how dry, itchy and flaky it can become without proper care. Well, your pet’s skin is exactly the same! Between having to use the bathroom outdoors in the cold and sometimes wet weather, and entering back into a home with dry heat, it’s incredibly easy for your pet’s skin and paw pads to become irritated. By keeping your home humidified, you are adding moisture into the air to help keep your pet’s skin healthy, and by towel drying your pet, you are helping to remove any ice or snow that’s caught and could damage the skin.
Bathe your pet only when necessary
We all know how detrimental constant washing can be for the skin. Combine that with the effects of cold weather and you’d be setting your pet up for the discomfort of itchy and flaky skin. Throughout the winter, try to bathe your pet as little as possible so that its skin can retain the oils needed to remain healthy. If you must bathe your pet, make sure to towel dry them and allow them to completely dry off before heading outside.
Pay special attention to the paws
Your pet’s paws are extremely vulnerable during the winter months. They’re exposed to a variety of conditions such as snow, ice, and melting salts and sands, that together can cause a great deal of discomfort and even pain. Prolonged exposure to snow and ice can cause numbness and damage to the skin of the paw pads, while contact with melting salts and sands can cause burns, scratches, and further damage. The best way to protect your pet’s paws is to put them in booties before heading outside. This gives protection from snow and ice and also prevents salt and sand from becoming lodged in between the toes. However, if you’ve seen those videos of dogs trying to walk in booties, you know that not all are willing to wear them. If your pet is one that won’t, massaging petroleum jelly onto their paw pads and between their toes before heading outside can help to protect against any winter-time chemicals on the ground.
Check the temperature
Many of us have fenced-in yards where we can just let our pet out to romp and roam at its leisure, and while this is great, it’s important to check the temperature during the winter before letting your dog out to play. If it’s not a temperature you would feel comfortable standing out in for a prolonged period of time, chances are your pet won’t either. If left outdoors in the freezing temperatures, pets can become disoriented and are at risk of potential injury and even death. Additionally, just like you shouldn’t leave your pet in the car during the hot summer months, you shouldn’t leave it during the winter either. Cars hold in the freezing air and can again lead to disorientation, injury and eventual death. On very cold days, let your pet out to use the bathroom and then bring it back in and leave your pet at home inside when you go running errands.