Winter is arriving early: Tips for keeping your pet safe and warm

Dropping temperatures and snowflakes are already making their debut this early in November, so let’s beat the cold and take early precautions in keeping your pets safe this winter! It is easy for people to throw on big, fluffy coats and a pair of gloves to keep us warm, but animals need a little bit more protection from the winter weather. Here are some tips to help keep your pet safe and cozy during this frigid time of year:

1. Keep your pets inside. Limit your pet’s outside time for bathroom breaks when temperatures start to tumble. If it’s too cold for you, it’s definitely too cold for your pet. If your pet is normally stays outside, move them to a sheltered garage or heated dog house, away from the wind.

2. Outdoor cats have been known to find refuge underneath the hoods of cars. When the car starts, the cat could become injured or even killed by moving parts of the engine. If you have an outdoor cat, open up the hood or honk the horn before starting the car to give the cat a chance to escape.

3. Keep your dog on a leash in the winter weather. Pets can lose their scent in the snow and ice and find refuge in unfamiliar places. This is also a good opportunity to check your dog or cat’s id tag to make sure they have the most current contact information in case your pet becomes lost or stolen. We also recommend mircrochipping your pet. More pets are lost during the winter than any other time of the year.

4. When getting your pet groomed, don’t have their hair shaved down to the skin – a longer coat will provide more warmth and protects them from the brutally cold weather. If you give your dog a bath, make sure to completely dry them before taking them outside. For short-haired breeds, put them in a warm sweater with a high collar that gives the pet coverage from the base of their tail to the belly.

5. Make sure to keep a dry towel near the door when you bring in your dogs from being outside. Thoroughly dry their paws, legs and belly. They can pick up bits of salt, antifreeze and other lethal chemicals from being outside. It can also be painful for the animal to have clumps of ice tangled in their fur or lodged in between the pads of their feet, which can cause a dog’s paws to bleed. This is also a good opportunity to give them some extra love and praise them for good outdoor behavior.

6. Never leave your pet alone in a vehicle. The vehicle can act as a refrigerator, keeping the cold inside and causing your pet to freeze to death.

7. If your pet spends a lot of time playing outside, increase his food supply. Make sure to include extra protein to help keep his fur in great shape.

8. Coolant and antifreeze are lethal for cats and dogs. If you have any spills in your garage or driveway, make sure to clean them thoroughly and right away. Stay away from products that use ethylene glycol. If your pet should ingest any of these products, contact your veterinarian immediately.

9. Rock salt is also dangerous for pets. Invest in a pet-safe ice melt like Soft Paws, which is available for sale at Wayside Waifs.

10. Give your pet a warm place to sleep. Make sure beds are located away from doors and drafts. Warm blankets or a large pillow are great.

With all of these tips combined, your pet should be safe and comfortable during these next four or five months. Winter is off to an early start, and we hope everyone, two-legged and four-legged, has a safe winter and stays warm – don’t forget to snuggle with your furry friends!

 Written by Cierra H.

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