Do you have a new furry member in your family? Is this your first winter with them? If so, winter weather can be challenging for both of you.
Pets are a great addition to the family. They bring laughter and companionship to our lives. In return, most of us want to provide the best care we can to our beloved pets, and during the winter months, they may need a bit more care.
This is my first winter with our kitten Toulouse. Even though he doesn’t go outside, we needed to make adjustments in our house to make sure he was comfortable.
Here are some tips that can help you if you live in a Winter Wonderland.
1. Don’t zap your cat. A cat’s physiology, and its behavior, are different than dogs. Many dogs like to snuggle with you and enjoy it when you pet their heads or rub their bellies. On the other hand, while your cat may like to hang out you, he may not like being petted. The reason is static electricity. If you stroke a cat, from head to tail, this may aggravate him because static electricity builds up in his body.
When we run the furnace in the winter, the static electricity in our home intensifies and can make your cat uncomfortable. Simply walking around the house can cause a zap if you touch your cat. If your cat likes to play on your furniture, he could be zapped.
To help control the zap factor in your home, run a humidifier. Keeping the humidity in your home between 20 and 50 percent can create a more comfortable environment.
If your cat tolerates water, spray a mister on his entire body to help eliminate static electricity.
Keep in mind that there are several benefits to installing a humidifier in your home even if you don’t have pets.
2. A good pair of boots. Depending on your level of activity during the winter, a good pair of boots can prevent cold feet and frostbite. If this is your first winter with your pet, don’t forget about their paws.
Our pet’s paws can take a beating during the winter months. Check their paws frequently to make sure the paw pads aren’t cracked or bleeding.
If you spend a lot of time outdoors with your pet and want to protect their paws, there are many options. Kristin, West Bend’s marketing services specialist, recommends using Four Paws Dog Paw Guard. This product provides protection on her boys’ paws when they encounter ice, snow, and salt on their daily walks.
3. Clean their boots. After a refreshing winter walk, it’s important to clean off their paws as soon as you return home. They may have picked up toxic chemicals or have sidewalk salt stuck between their toes. This is also a good time to check for injury or trauma to their paws. If you want to protect their paws or avoid cleaning them, booties are an option if they’ll wear them. Don’t forget to scrub their bellies as well!
4. Eliminate access to the garage. Our vehicles make a mess on the garage floor in the winter with slush and toxins from melting snow. If you have an older car, it may contain antifreeze that tastes sweet to our pets. Antifreeze, which is crucial to keeping our cars running, is extremely dangerous. If a small amount is ingested it can be fatal because it will lead to kidney failure.
If your pet has wandered into your garage and afterward, shows these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately. Medicine is available but must be given quickly after ingestion.
Symptoms of antifreeze poisoning
- Excessive drinking; and
Today, major marketers of antifreezes have changed the formula from a sweet taste to a bitter taste. Please be aware, however, that this doesn’t make antifreeze safer. It’s an attempt to keep them from ingesting large quantities.
If you notice an antifreeze leak in your garage or if you spill it, clean it up immediately. Using kitty litter is a safe way to soak it up. Use large amounts of water to rinse your floor.
5. Shovel your yard. While shoveling snow isn’t fun, it’s important to clear a spot in your yard for your pet. Some dogs hate going out in the snow and cold. An area free of snow and salt can make life easier for both of you.
Also, consider accompanying them outside if it’s very cold. Using familiar verbal commands may keep them focused on what they’re supposed to do (i.e. “go potty” or “get busy”). A delicious treat afterward will help reward and reinforce their good behavior.
6. Cold cars are dangerous too. During the summer months, we hear news reports about the danger of leaving your child or pet in the car unattended. Winter can be just as dangerous. If you have to leave them unattended, it’s best to leave them at home.
7. Too cold for you? If you have multiple pets, each one may experience the cold weather differently. Pay attention. If one dog loves long walks and playing in the snow, let her at it. If your other dog is miserable, come up with a different routine for him. In the end, if it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for them.
8. Wear reflective clothing. If you enjoy walking your dog before sunrise or after sunset, make sure both of you wear reflective clothing. Motorists don’t expect to see people out and about during the winter months. Even if you live in a well-lit neighborhood, it still may be difficult for motorists to see you.
9. Keep them on their leashes. City ordinances usually require your dog to be on leash when strolling through your neighborhood. If you normally give your pet some freedom and remove the leash, winter is not the time to do it. Snowfall can make it difficult for pets to find their way home if they get lost.
Do you have any tips or information you’d like to share? I’d love to hear them; please share them in the box below.