Winter is nearly here, and your pets have noticed. Cold weather can come along with chill drafts and chapped paws that might keep your best friend from enjoying the holiday festivities. Before the season starts, take a few minutes to make sure that your furred or feathered companion is warm, dry, and ready for the snow.
Small or short haired pets may need a sweater or coat when they go outside. If they have long hair, visit the groomer for a trim; dragging fur can pick up snow, mud, and ice. Feed a little extra, and make sure they have plenty of water. Staying warm costs calories, but if your pet is well fed and hydrated, they'll handle the winter like a champ. Finally, your pet needs a warm place to sleep, away from floor-level drafts, and with soft pillows and blankets.
According to the ASPCA, the combination of wet walks and constantly running heaters causes many pets to develop dry, chapped skin. To prevent this, dry your pet off right away after walks, and make sure you get between their paw pads, where ice clumps tend to hide. Soap washes away the natural oils that keep your pet's skin soft and healthy, so skip the bath. If you must wash a mud-covered pup, look for a moisturizing shampoo. You can also use a humidifier to counteract the effect of your heaters, especially if you notice your own skin drying out at home.
The salt and chemicals used to defrost roads can hurt your pets' paws or even make them sick. Apply petroleum jelly to their paws before a walk to protect their skin from salt or other irritants, especially if you've already noticed chapping or sensitivity. You should also look out for antifreeze, which can drip from cars and create a toxic puddle. Finally, use non-toxic defrosting agents on your own driveway whenever possible.
A warm pet is a happy pet! With these simple steps, the whole family should be able to enjoy a safe and cozy holiday season.
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