Cold weather exposure’s and your pets!
When it comes to cold weather, Arizona is not typically a place that most people would associate with the cold. Although normally Northern Arizona is where most of the snow falls, it still gets cold enough here in our sunshine state to be a danger to your pets.
The same rules apply to the cold as with the heat, if it is too cold for you, it is too cold for your pet! Keeps your pets indoors during winter months. If a pet is left out in the cold, they can become disoriented, lost, stolen, injured or they may even freeze.
Exposing your pet to the cold dry air, sleet, snow and chilly rain can cause itchy, flaky skin and chapped paws. If you do take a trip up to the snow, remember there are other dangers to be aware of such as the chemicals used to melt the snow. These chemicals can be dangerous if licked off of bare paws by your pets.
Coming out of the cold and in to the dry heat of your home repeatedly can also cause irritations to your pets skin. Keeping your house humidified and being sure to dry your pets as soon as possible when coming in to the home can help alleviate the irritations. Pay special attention to drying between the toes of their paws and remove any snow from between the foot pads.
One of the most familiar ways to keep your furry friends happy during winter months is by providing a warm place to sleep. Be sure that they have a cozy cat or dog bed away from drafty areas. A pillow or warm blanket can keep them from the cold floor.
Carry a towel with you on long walks. this way you can clean off paws that may become irritated or stinging. Be sure to wash and dry your pet’s stomach and feet, this will help remove ice, chemicals and salt. Check paws and between toes for redness or cracking.
Petroleum jelly massaged on your pets paws can provide a protectant from salt and chemical agents. Apply this before you take your pet out in to the snow or cold. Another source of protectant is booties. Booties not only protect but they can prevent sand and salt from lodging between toes and causing irritation. Whenever possible, use pet friendly ice melts.
Chemicals are not only used to melt ice, there are other chemicals that we use during the cold winter months that can be harmful to our pet also. Antifreeze is a lethal poison for both cats and dogs. Antifreeze has a sweet taste that is irresistible to animals. It is always best to be sure that any spills from this chemical are cleaned up immediately. If possible it may be best to use products that contain propylene glycol instead of ethylene glycol. Contact pet poison control or your veterinarian if you suspect your pet has ingested antifreeze.
DO NOT shave your pet during the cold winter months, save this for the summer months. Winter coats help provide warmth to your animals. For long haired animals, consider trimming them to minimize snow balls, chemicals and salt crystals from clinging to their fur. Short – haired dogs can be kept warm with the help of a coat or sweater, preferably with a high collar or turtleneck. Coverage should be from the belly to the base of the tail.
Keep bathing to a minimum. Bathing your pets during winter months should be kept to an as needed basis. If your dog absolutely needs to be bathed ask your vet to recommend a shampoo/ rinse that is moisturizing. If you wash too often this can remove essential oils causing flaky, dry skin.
Feed your furry friends a bit more, pets love this one! During the cold winter months dogs and cats tend to burn more energy trying to stay warm. Providing them with a little more much-needed calories and being sure to have plenty of water for them to drink will help to keep them well-hydrated. This will also play a key part in their skin being less dry.
In Arizona, some cats are free roaming, or considered indoor/outdoor pets. During the cold season cats will try to crawl into car engines, this can be dangerous and even sometimes fatal. If you have a cat, the best place for them is indoors.
Human medication, even basic aspirin can be harmful to your pets. Winter is known as cold and flu season. Keep all of your medications, whether over-the-counter or prescription, out of the reach of animals. Do not try to medicate your animal yourself unless under your veterinarians direction.
Anxiety in your pooch can take place from being stuck indoors with boredom and lack of exercise. To help avoid anxiety, find indoor activities that give mental stimulation. Move some furniture and give them some extra room and teach them some new tricks! Keep a strict schedule for feeding time, play time, quiet time and sleep. Maybe even treat them to a Spa day since it is too cold for a bath outside.
For more ideas on how to have fun with your pet during the cold winter months go to animalfair.com.
Enjoy the winter, enjoy your pets and keep them safe and warm!