Winters are a time where we humans are most concerned about our health and do all the things possible to keep us safe from the cold wave. The same care is needed for pets like dogs and cats as they only have their skin to protect themselves during the winters. Some of the signs that show your pets are too cold are shaking, shivering, barking, showing reluctance to walk etc.
In this article, you will see some of the best tips to keep your beloved pets in good health during winters and also ensure good warmth as well. If you can follow the given tips, your pets will enjoy their winters and also will be able to keep good health too.
So let us get started,
1) Restrict Outdoor Time
Winters are a time where the skins of both dogs and cats need to be protected from frost bites. Frostbite is essentially damage in tissue that happens in extreme cold when temperature falls below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. This condition is not only painful to the pets but can be damaging to their overall health as well. Hence, the duration of your pets playing outside should be considerably reduced in winters. Also, it would be best if you can accompany your pets during walks during cold weathers as you would be aware of the temperature levels.
2) Get Good Winter Wears
Nothing can beat the cold like some cosy sweaters and jackets that add an extra layer of warmth and comfort in pets. Winter Wears are a necessity especially for senior dogs and cats as they have a weak immune system to fight against the cold. In fact older pets need sweaters even when they are staying indoors.
Having said that, you should also not force large dogs with thick skin to wear winter clothes as they can keep themselves warm with their skin. Their thick skin is designed to resist cold temperatures and they generally do fine without the sweaters. If you feel the temperature is too low, you can put light clothes on them.
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3) Groom them Regularly
There is a popular myth among dog and cat owners that their pets don’t really get dirty during winters and hence they don’t need grooming. This is absolutely not true as pets get equally dirty in winters as in summers and they need the same amount of grooming during this season as well. In winters, your pet’s undercoat helps them to keep warm and when you don’t groom them, their undercoat can become dirty and matted. You don’t want this to happen as this condition makes your pet lose their insulating ability which in turn decreases their overall immunity.
Buy high quality shampoos & conditioners to keep your pet’s skin healthy and shiny. To avoid skin allergies and dermatitis in them, consider buying some good moisturisers that soften their skin and reduce itching as well.
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4) Inspect their Paws
Dogs can gather winter salts in their paws when they are walking outside during winters. These winter salts can irritate your dog’s paws and cause chemical burns as well. If ingested, the same winter salts can cause mouth burns and gastrointestinal problems in the pets. This is why paw care is too important when it comes to the winter care of both cats and dogs.
After every walk outside during winters, you should wash your pet’s feet thoroughly. Even better, consider using dog shoes that effectively protect your dog’s feet from winter salts and frostbites.
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5) Watch Out For Unusual Signs
Dogs can develop Hypothermia, a medical condition that occurs when their core body temperature falls too low. It can cause problems with heart and blood flow, breathing and immunity of the dogs as well. This is why dog owners should stay alert when the temperature is low, especially during peak winters.
One should always be aware of some critical signs in winter where they can sense discomfort in pets. Some clear signs of Hypothermia in pets are Whining, Shivering, Anxiety, Slowing down and Searching for places to burrow etc. Once you have noticed these signs, you should report to the veterinarian without any further delay.
6) Refrain From Overfeeding
While it is true that your pets need an extra layer to keep themselves warm and cosy, it should be from their coat and not from body fats. Many pet owners overfeed their dogs and cats thinking that it will protect them from the cold. This is completely false and in fact, this tendency of overfeeding can prove disastrous for your pets.
In winters, the calories you are feeding your dogs and cats should be equal to their activity level only. You can consider feeding raw meat to the pets during winters as it keeps good energy and a healthy skin on them.
7) Ensure Excellent Hydration
It might sound counterintuitive but did you know pets dehydrate just as quickly in winters as in summer? This is because the air inside and outside the house gets drier during the cold weather which makes your pets crave for more water. Always ensure a constant supply of water near the pets and regularly replenish the water in the bowl before it gets too cold to drink. Also, be conscious of their skin condition and consult your vet immediately if you see dry or flaky skin.
8) Do not Bring Heaters Near to Them
In winters, your pets may try to get too close to the heaters for it gives them comfort as well as warmth. This habit leaves them too vulnerable to harmful burns which are often caused by radiators. Hence, both dog and cat owners should always check if there is a safe distance between the heat source and their pet. If you have a fireplace, consider installing a fireguard screen that prevents heat burns in the pets while ensuring they eat the ashes as well.
So you have seen some of the highly essential tips that ensure both warmth and excellent health in both dogs and cats. While you care for your lovely pets, do spare some thoughts to the strays outside as they are even more vulnerable to the cold outside. Providing them with old blankets and sweaters can go a long way in helping them fight the cold weather in winters.