Frost things frost…keeping your pets (and their paws) safe this winter
All too quickly, winter is here again, and that means it’s time to think about the best ways to keep your pets safe from the cold. After all, cats and dogs don’t usually enjoy the -30°C Canadian weather anymore than we do. Brr!
Read on for some of our best tips for keeping your pets safe and protecting their paws as we head into the frostier months of the year.
Beware the cold...
Dogs and cats, especially puppies and those with short coats, are very vulnerable to icy temperatures and are at risk of frostbite and hypothermia if left outside. Some simple things you can do to help mitigate these risks include:
- Keeping your pets indoors as much as you can when those extreme temperatures hit. A short spell of intense indoor activity can help them burn some energy when it’s too cold to be outside!
- If they are outside, make sure your pets have easy and quick access to shelter.
- Keep an eye out for signs of frostbite or hypothermia (pale gums or ears, shivering, any unusual changes in behaviour).
- A well-groomed coat can actually help insulate their skin from the cold more effectively, so make sure to brush on a regular basis (and if your animal is short-haired, consider investing in a coat for them to wear).
- Cats (and other small animals) may seek warmth underneath the hood of your car - remember to honk your horn or bang on your hood to scare any nestling creatures away before you drive!
Protect those paws!
It’s not just their body temperature that can be affected - dogs paws in particular need to be well-looked after during the (often long) winter months. One of the best things you can do for your pets is make sure their paws are protected during cold weather. Snow and ice can dry out the pads of their paws, chapping and cracking their skin, which is not only irritating for them, but can also be painful. Additionally, the salt and chemicals used on sidewalks to clear the snow and ice can actually cause chemical burns to our pets’ paw pads, or upset their stomachs if they try to lick it off.
We've put together some tips on how to protect your pets paws in winter:
- Don’t allow your dog to walk on ice or snow-covered surfaces without paw protection.
- Check their paws regularly - if you notice any redness or sores, take them to a vet immediately.
- Consider buying them a pair of properly fitting boots (to help them get used to the idea, let them wear the boots around the house and reward and encourage them when they wear them!). If you're wondering where to start, why not check out the paw-some selection of dog boots over at www.muttluks.com.
- If boots are getting a ‘frosty’ reception from your pet, why not try petroleum jelly instead? This creates a barrier between your pup’s paws and the ground, preventing snow, salt, grit and ice from getting in between their toes. It also helps keep their paws hydrated so they don’t dry out in the harsh winter weather!
Winter is coming whether we like it or not, but being prepared is a great way to make sure your pet stays comfortable and safe while the snow falls outside. Make sure they don’t stay outside too long, protect their paws and watch out for signs of cold-related afflictions. Be prepared, be merry, be warm!