Buddy Knows: Winter Tips for Your Pet

Well, it is that time of year! December is upon us and cold, snowy weather is soon to come. While lower temperatures mean cozy hot-chocolate-by-the-fire days and snow ball fights, it also means that, as pet owners, we have to start taking precautions to protect our pets from the harsh climate. Below are some tips for creating a comfortable winter environment for your pets.

Tip #1: Keep them hydrated. Winter air is dry, and so is the heated interior air of your home. Dryer air means your pets might get dehydrated more easily, so make sure they have constant access to plenty of water (which they should have anyway no matter what time of year). You can also try using a humidifier to add moisture back into the air.

Tip #2: Do not overdress them. We all love seeing pets strutting around in adorable sweaters, botties, and hats – but clothing might not be in their best interest. A dog’s body temperature is usually between 101 – 102 degrees Fahrenheit. If your pets are in heavy layers, especially during exercise, it is very easy for them to overheat. If you do dress them up, make sure you are monitoring their body temperature. Remember, they are born with a built in coat!

Tip #3: Add some fat to their diets. Like we mentioned earlier, the dry winter air causes dehydration, which can manifest as itchy, flaky skin. Try giving them 1-2 tablespoons (depending on their size) per day of bacon fat drizzled on top of their regular food to stimulate oil production in their skin. Stop adding the fat once their skin and coat looks back to normal – too much can make them greasy!

Tip #4: Keep walking! A lot of people get concerned about their pets being outside in the frigid temperatures, and it is a good thing to not let them stay out for prolonged periods. However, it is important to make sure your pets are still being walked adequately enough to have healthy bowel movements and to urinate. Pets that are rushed inside or given fewer opportunities throughout the day to go outside might end up constipated or with a urinary tract infection from holding everything in too long. Housetrained pets might start breaking their housetraining, or might start their business outside but finish inside.

Tip #5: Wipe their feet. Salt is great to prevent us all from slipping around like clumsy penguins, but on a dog’s bare feet, it can cause irritation and chemical burns. When your pets come inside from a winter romp, take a minute to wipe their feet off to remove the salt.

Following these tips should help you and your pets enjoy the winter season in comfort.

The Yappie Cuttery Team