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Winter Pet Care

December 2, 2015


Taking care of your pet in the winter involves many of the same aspects of taking care of yourself and your family. Dogs, cats, horses, etc. are mammals just as we are, after all. Snow, ice, wind and cold temperatures affect animals much the same way they do us.

Walking the dog:

  1. Protect your pet’s paws against cold, frostbite and discomfort by rubbing them with petroleum jelly before going out. Even better, use pet booties.
  2. Don’t leave your pet outside longer than it needs to do its business.
  3. Towel or wash off your pet’s paws and belly when you get back from a walk. This will dry/warm the animal and get rid of any salt or chemicals put down as ice melt which may be poisonous to your animal. Watch to make sure you pet isn’t licking these poisons off the paws or legs.


If your animal must be outside:

  1. They should have a shelter that is out of the wind, large enough to turn around in but small enough to capture their body heat.
  2. Some type of bedding should be available for warmth. Blankets work well with dogs; extra hay for horses or better a horse blanket.
  3. Food and water should be available around the clock. Cold temperatures dehydrate animals just as they do us, and we all burn extra calories just to keep warm.


General tips:

  1. Humidify your home.  You’ll enjoy the extra moisture too!
  2. Keep animals inside as much as possible. Animals suffer from frost bite and hyperthermia just as human’s do.
  3. Trim your animal’s coat if necessary to keep it from getting matted due to ice and snow; but don’t shave your animals. They need the coat for warmth.
  4. Bathe your animal on warm days. Being wet in the cold weather will get animals sick just as it could you.
  5. Make sure you animal has a warm, dry place to sleep.
  6. The outside rule about food and drink work inside too. Always have water available and increase the amount of calories your pet eats.
  7. Don’t leave an animal in the car! Just as in the summer, when a car can become an oven, in the winter a car can become an ice box.
  8. Make sure your pet has no access to poisons.  Anti-freeze spills are lethal. Rat poison tends to be used more in winter to keep out warmth-seeking rodents. Make sure your pet can’t get to these.
  9. Use pet friendly ice melts instead of dangerous chemicals.
  10. Lastly, check the engine compartment of vehicles before turning over the engine. Small animals may crawl in seeking warmth.


Baby yourself!  Baby your baby!! You’ll both have a better winter.

As usual, thanks for reading.

—E. A. Cooke

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