If you live in the Northeast and you’ve spent even just a second outside in the past few weeks, you’re aware of the bitter cold temperatures we are enduring. While many of us remember to bundle up with extra layers, it can be easy to forget that our furry friends need assistance during these blistering times. Keep in mind these quick steps the next time you go outside with your pet.
1) Keep outdoor exposure short:
According to the Humane Society, try to limit walks in the cold to 10 minutes or less. Make sure to bundle your pet up, even for these brief times. A sweater or jacket will keep your pet looking fly while staying warm. Also, outdoor cats should not be left outside at all. Although they may not like it, bring them inside until temperature rise.
2) Wash their paws and bellies with warm water and towel dry them ASAP:
The warm water serves two very important purposes. First, it obviously helps to bring feeling back to their cold, exposed body parts. Second, and most importantly, it helps wash off poisonous salt that was most likely on the roads or sidewalks. Removing this salt will prevent your pet from licking it accidently and getting sick. The towel dry serves as a second means of removing any unwanted chemicals, as well as excess snow or ice.
3) Speaking of poison, be mindful of your antifreeze:
Rambunctious pets have a habit of getting into anything they can find, and that could include that bottle of antifreeze sitting on the floor of the garage. The Humane Society says that antifreeze has a sweet taste to animals, which will attract them. Obviously, this could lead to very serious medical problems, so please keep your antifreeze in a safe area.
4) Winter is not the time for grooming your pet:
While we all want our pets looking their best selves for the New Year, it’s important to understand the natural benefits of their coats and skin oils. Shaving or over washing your pet can lead to unwanted exposure to the cold and drying out of the skin.
5) Give them a few extra scoops of food:
Cold temperatures cause bodies of all warm-blooded animals – that includes you – to work harder. That means burning more calories and needing more energy. Also, avoid using metal dishes to avoid an A Christmas Story situation.
6) Don’t be afraid to report animals left out in the cold:
Obviously you shouldn’t leave your pet outside for extended periods of time in these temperatures, but others might not think as rationally. Contact local police or humane societies if you notice a neglected pet or a stranded animal.
The best technique is to stay cuddled up by the fire with your animal buddies! Stay warm this winter!