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by Suzie Cyrenne May 04, 2023 7 min read
With the winter weather just right around the corner, your pet could be in for some unexpected health issues without the proper know-how and planning. And in case you’re looking for no-fuss to prevent cold weather dangers, you’ve definitely come to the right place.
I'll walk you through 16 very important winter safety tips to keep your pets in tiptop shape. I’d just like to emphasize that these pointers may even help your dog or cat keep clear from potentially life-threatening situations when freezing temperatures get in the picture.
Without further ado, let’s get right to it…
Pets need to be mostly indoors during this time of the year regardless of how thick or bushy their coats may be. Your pet's health can be at risk due to the very cold weather.
Besides being prone to frostbite and hypothermia due to the cold air (especially short-haired dogs), the extreme cold can also make your pet vulnerable to confusion and disorientation. This is why keeping your cat or dog warm indoors should be on the top of your list.
Moreover, never leave your pet inside your vehicle during extreme temperatures. This is because he can possibly lose a lot of body heat in this situation, even reaching life-threatening levels in some cases.
Having a warm place and enough food aren't sufficient to keep pets safe this winter. Dogs and cats also need the right nutrition or else they'll have a tough time maintaining their ideal body temperatures. The best foods to give your fur baby during this time of the year are those that have lots of protein and fiber.
However, keep in mind to go easy on the carbohydrate-rich stuff since these can make him feel bloated and sluggish especially with the cold weather. Steer your pet clear from the salty stuff, too, since they can potentially cause kidney failure. A bit of physical exercise is recommended as well.
(You can also click here to check out our ultimate guide on what dogs can and cannot eat.)
Staying indoors for long periods can make your fur baby (especially cats) tempted to become nosier than usual. This is why properly storing harsh detergents, oven cleaners, ice melting agents, antifreeze and dry cleaning solutions should be a priority when the cold weather sets in.
Moreover, make sure you take care of any messes like antifreeze spills right away since this can attract animals. Many pets are also enticed to give these things a lick thinking that they have a sweet taste. In case of emergency, it is crucial to contact a veterinarian immediately!
Your pet's feet will be subjected to a lot of punishment during the cold weather. Besides having cracked paw pads and flaking skin, it's not uncommon to see chapped paws during this time of the year, too.
And in case you will go outside for a walk or some other activity, it's crucial to protect bare paws. Besides dressing up your fur baby in an appropriate winter wardrobe, outfitting your dog's feet or dog's paws with booties also acts as an extra barrier against the cold weather.
When you get back home, make sure you give your pet's feet a thorough wipe down with a damp towel to get rid of any rock salt, anti-icing agents and other chemicals that may have clung to them. Letting your fur baby wear dog boots already takes care of half the hassle!
Closely monitoring your pet's water dish during the cold season is a must. Dehydration can also strike at this time. Surprisingly, winter's dry atmosphere can make your dog or cat thirsty quicker than usual.
I recommend going for plastic food containers or bowls since they won't make your pet's tongue stick even when left outdoors. This is especially useful for outdoor pets that spend a bit of time in the yard or porch.
A simple way of checking if your dog or cat is ideally hydrated is by looking at his gums. If they are pink, you’re good to go. However, he needs hydration if they look pale or a bit too red. Dry skin is also an indicator.
This tip is especially for outdoor cats and dogs that can have a tricky time answering the call of nature during wintertime. While one approach is shoveling a small patch of ground close to your home, another is designating a temporary indoor potty station. You can also use cedar shavings and heated buckets to help your dog or cat stay warm.
You can have it in your garage, patio, or some other part of your home that is suitably protected against the elements. Don’t forget to properly dispose of your pet’s waste daily to keep contamination and feces-borne diseases at bay.
It's not uncommon that too much cold discomforts pets. This is why they find the warmth of your vehicle an appealing heat source. A warm vehicle engine will be really enticing, too! They will either squeeze themselves above a tire or even wriggle their bodies under the hood in some cases.
Before starting your engine, remember to pop the hood first to check if your dog or cat may have snuck inside. Make sure you also examine your vehicle’s underside for any pet stowaways while you’re at it.
Space heaters are one of the most popular appliances used during wintertime. However, you can’t use these things unattended, especially when you’ve got a pet in your household. Besides being a fire hazard, an unattended space heater can also cause nasty burn.
The most straightforward way of preventing this from happening is placing the space heater in an elevated area where your pet can’t get to. Using a sturdy barrier to keep your pet safe also works for this approach.
Pets still need a bath during winter. Your dog or cat needs them to keep his skin properly moisturized and get rid of unwanted chemicals that may have become stuck to his coat. Keep in mind to also give your pets' coats adequate brushings and combings to prevent tangles and mats from forming.
Thoroughly wiping down your pet after spending time outdoors is crucial. Besides doing away with snow, salt and chemicals that may have stuck to his coat, doing so also dries off unnecessary moisture (like chilly rain) that can make his body temperature drop. Top things off with a warm blanket and your pet will really appreciate your efforts.
Regardless of how thick or bushy your pet’s coat is, he will still be susceptible to the negative effect of the cold weather. In case you really have to take your pet outside, keep in mind to keep it short and quick. Additionally, schedule your quick winter walks when the sun is still up.
Trudging on frozen bodies of water like rivers, lakes and ponds with pets is a big no-no. It’s possible that these cannot support your weight (or your pet's weight for that matter) and may crack, leading to the both of you falling over.
You will never know when an ice melt can take place. Even the most agile and nimble dog—or outdoor and feral cats—can be at risk during this situation.
Your pet will need extra sources of warmth during the winter season. It is essential that apart from providing your fur baby with thick blankets and beddings to make him feel extra toasty, fitting him with season appropriate garments like sweaters and booties should also be on your checklist.
Like I said earlier, while using a space heater can help make your animal family member feel more comfortable this time of the year, this appliance should never be left unattended or be easily accessible by your fur baby to avoid any untoward incidents.
Skin issues like itching and flaking can get in the picture when winter comes. This is why it is crucial to moisturize your pet’s skin every single day to stave off these health issues.
Spending a lot of time indoors can make your cat or dog prone to unwanted weight gain. However, there are a lot of ways to keep this in check. You can do activities like indoor catch, hide and seek, using a pet-friendly laser pointer, setting up an obstacle course, organizing a treasure hunt, as well as having a brisk walking or jogging session using a treadmill.
Power outages and road blockages can be triggered by high winds, continuous snowfall and unexpected blizzards. Having an emergency winter plan is very important during this time.
Besides stocking up on a more than adequate amount of food and water, having natural moisturizers and similar remedies is also highly recommended to ensure your fur baby’s comfort and well-being.
And speaking of emergencies during the winter season, here’s something you should consider having in your pet checklist…
Zumalka’s EMERGENCY KIT was designed with proactivity in mind. This reliable go-to kit will help you get the peace of mind you’ve always wanted when preparing for unexpected winter emergencies.
Formulated to promote and support your pet's intestinal health, digestion, hydration levels, as well as overall immune system response, EMERGENCY KIT will help ensure that your pet will be happy and healthy during wintertime.
And given that all of the products in our EMERGENCY KIT are made from premium natural ingredients unlike most prescription medications, your pet won’t be also in for sudden adverse side effects anytime soon.
Maintaining your pet’s ideal quality of life during the winter season isn’t that tricky at all. You just have to keep a few important things in mind to successfully pull the whole thing off. And I hope you’ve learned a lot from the comprehensive yet easy-to-follow list that I’ve walked you through.
In case you’re planning to discover more about homeopathy to keep your pet as happy and healthy as they can be, you can also check out our ONLINE HOMEOPATHIC CONSULTATIONright now.
Besides targeting the root of your pet's problem, instead of just dealing with the symptoms, our ONLINE HOMEOPATHIC CONSULTATION also provides a personalized solution for your fur baby’s health concerns. And all of this done in the comfort of your own home, too.
Naturally with you and your pet, every step of the way!
HOMEOPATH & CO-FOUNDER OF ZUMALKA
Suzie Cyrenne is a certified Homeopath with over ten years of experience creating natural products for cats and dogs. She co-founded eCommerce brand, Zumalka in 2013 with her husband Matt and is on a mission to help thousands of animals naturally improve their quality of life and shares her experience on their popular YouTube show. Hence, she created a line of high-performance natural pet supplements to target the root cause of common health issues. Suzie was influenced by her mother-in-law, who practiced homeopathy and made natural remedies from home. After being on prescriptions for many years for a skin issue without resolution, she wanted to try something new. Her problems were cleared up within a few months of dedication to a better diet supplemented by homeopathic remedies. That's when she knew that homeopathy worked! During this process, she wondered why there weren't better options for pets and soon created a popular line of natural remedies that have helped thousands of pets across the USA. When she’s not traveling or reading the next personal development book, you can find Suzie snowboarding, working out, or enjoying a daily hike.
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