As winter arrives, we start preparing ourselves for these cold and chilly days and we believe that winter is conducive to pets. Yes, the chances of infection might be low in winter, but this harsh cold weather can be uncomfortable and even damaging to our furry friends. So here are some pet winter care tips for your beloved pets to keep them healthy and warm during winter.
Hypothermia: A Possibility
Some pet owners are convinced that their pets can survive winter well. Dogs with thick furry coats can somewhat tolerate the cold weather but dogs having thin coats are equally vulnerable as humans. You should be aware of your pet’s tolerance towards cold because hypothermia is a possibility when your pet is exposed to cold temperatures.
In this case, your dog will shiver, and become depressed, and as it progresses heart rate, and breathing rate slows down. Sometimes it can be life-threatening. Try to raise the temperature of your pet. Wrap blankets around him. Heating pads or place hot water bottles wrapped in a towel against the belly. In severe cases, he may need iv fluids so consult your veterinarian.
Keep Your Pets Warm
Nowadays sweaters, hoodies, coats, and jackets of different sizes are available for dogs and cats in pet shops. Pick the right size that fits your pet from neck to tail and also covers the belly region. Put a coat on your pet, especially while taking them out. You can also wrap a blanket or towel around them when they feel cold. If you have other pets like birds, rabbits, or caged pets, cover the cage with a thick cloth, which protects them from direct cold and keeps the cage warm.
Don’t let your pet sleep on the cold floor. Place their bed in a warm spot away from direct drafts of wind. Provide them with extra bedding and blankets. Make a raised and comfortable bed for them, it will keep them off the cold floor.
Importance of Grooming
Bathing a pet also gets difficult during winter. Bath your dog once or twice a month on a sunny day, if there is no skin infection. Washing your dog too often can rip moisture and leave skin dry and flaky. Wash them with lukewarm water and dry them immediately. Sunlight helps in drying and also brings the added benefit of Vit-D.
Some dog shampoos and conditioners can help in moisturizing the skin. Avoid shaving off your dog’s coat as it’s their natural insulator. Regular brushing is also important, especially for long-haired pets. It keeps their coat healthy and matt-free.
Paw care is a must
Dogs can also suffer from cracked pads. Rinse your pet’s paws after walking outside. Use warm water and can also apply coconut oil. Trim the nails and hair in between the paws. They can collect ice in between pads and toes.
Cold weather takes a lot out of the body. Extra energy is needed for your pet to generate enough heat to keep him warm so it is essential to stay hydrated. Make sure that they have a sufficient amount of fresh clean water available all day. Change their water frequently two to three times a day with room temperature water or with lukewarm water. Add soup or broth to their diet to meet the water requirement. Lack of proper hydration can cause dryness and sometimes itching in your pet.
During winter dogs need more energy to keep them warm but it also brings laziness. So, avoid overfeeding your pet and pay close attention to your dog’s activity level.
High-quality whole foods, boiled eggs, and meat-based diets are good for winter. Soups and broth can also be included. Fish-based diets are rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and help in restoring the dog’s essential oil. In the case of a dog suffering from extreme dryness and hair fall omega-3 and omega-6-based supplements can also be given to pets during winter.
Plan Your Dog Walks
Walk your dog in the late morning and early afternoon, when the temperature is a little warmer. Wrap them up while going out. Avoid cold roads and pavements with grits. Indoor activities can also be included in their exercise regime.
Special Care of Senior Dogs
Senior dogs might have a hard time during winter. Joint pain and difficulty in breathing make winters uncomfortable for them. Pay extra attention to your old pooches.
Lack of exercise can cause a pet’s joint stiffness and pain. So, it’s also important to make an exercise routine for them. Try daily short walks and indoor activities to keep them active. Dogs with arthritis can be managed by keeping them warm and adding joint supplements like glucosamine-based supplements. Nerve tonics containing methylcobalamin (Vit-B12) can also be included. In case of severe pain can use painkillers or anti-inflammatory drugs and consult the veterinarian
Keep these winter care tips in mind and make this season comfortable and cozy for your furry friend.