We all need proper protection against the cold waves that happen during the winters. Warm clothes, hot water and room heaters are some of the methods we humans adopt for beating the cold. Our beloved pets, on the other hand, depend only on their skin to protect themselves. It is a fact that the chilling weather does make them uncomfortable, despite them bearing a heavy coat.
The amount of heat which can be trapped by your pet’s fur entirely depends on the thickness of the coat. Besides, pets are just as likely to get Hypothermia (low body temperature) and Frostbite (freezing of skin and tissue) as us humans in extreme cold.
There are many ways on how you can keep your four-legged friends warm and safe during this winter season.
Limit Outdoor Time
In cold weather, the ears, paws and tails of pets are exposed to frostbites, and hence, the duration of their outdoor activities should be cut down. Always accompany your pets while going outside as you will be aware of the temperature levels. You need to be extra vigilant when your pet is out all by himself.
It is also important to note that pets like rabbits and short-haired breeds of cats and dogs require extra attention during the winters. Place additional layers of hays to keep your rabbits warm. For dogs and cats, you can add thick blankets in their kennels and cat houses.
Get Them to Wear a Sweater
As mentioned above, pets having a short coat needs something extra beyond their skin to beat the chill in the weather. Putting a sweater on them can make them cosy and comfortable. Senior dogs and cats, due to their weak immune system experiences significant hair fall, and therefore, sweaters for them is recommended even while indoors.
You should not forcefully get pets with large fur wear sweaters and jackets, as it may overheat them. Their thick coat is genetically designed to protect them from the cold weather. If you feel the temperature is too low, you can use lighter clothes on them.
Ensure Regular Grooming
Regular bathing of your pet may not be necessary during winters, but their regular grooming really is. A well-groomed coat keeps your four-legged friends perfectly insulated. Your pet’s undercoat is essential for them to stay warm during winters and cool during summers. Without regular grooming, the undercoat can get dirty and matted, which makes them lose their insulating ability. This condition can even decrease the overall immunity of your pet.
Using top quality shampoos in your pet cleans off the dirt in their coat and makes the skin radiant. For preventing allergies and dermatitis, you can use moisturising creams which also keeps their skin well hydrated.
Check Their Paws Regularly
While walking outside, your pets can collect winter salts in their paws. These winter salts can lead to dry skin as well as itchiness. If your pet tends to lick their paws quite often, it can even ingest dangerous chemicals from these salts. After every walk during the winters, you should wash and dry your pet’s feet. Consider using dog shoes that effectively protects your dog’s paws and keeps them warm too.
Watch Out for Unusual Symptoms
As a pet owner, you should be aware of some critical symptoms in winters that reveals discomfort in your pets. Below are some clear signs of Hypothermia and you should immediately get your pets inside if you see these:
- Slowing Down
- Searching for places to burrow
Frostbites symptoms include discolouration and swelling in the affected area. Once you have noticed these signs, you should report to your pet’s veterinarian without any delay.
Your pets indeed need an extra layer to keep themselves warm and cosy. However, it should only be from their coat and not from their body fats. Cold temperature can induce laziness in your pets and overfeeding them can only make matters worse. In winters, the calories you are feeding your pets should be as per their activity level. Wholesome foods with raw meats are ideal for keeping good energy as well as healthy skin in them.
Keep them Well Hydrated
Pets dehydrate just as quickly in winter as summer. The air inside and outside the house gets drier during the cold weather that leaves your pet’s craving for water. Ensure a constant supply of water to them and replenish the water in the bowl before it gets too cold to drink. Always keep an eye on their skin condition and consult your vet immediately if you see dry or flaky skin.
Never Use Room Heaters to Warm Them
Your pets may snuggle too close to room heaters as it gives them comfort and warmth. This tendency leaves them significantly exposed to harmful burns that can be caused by radiation from these heaters. You should see that there is a safe distance between the heating source and your pet. If you have a fireplace, try installing a fireguard screen that helps in eliminating burns as well as preventing your pet from eating the ashes.
These are some essential tips to keep your pet healthy and warm during the winters. One should also be kind to the stray pets outside who are looking for shelter and food. It can get difficult for them during the cold weather, and we can do our bit to keep them safe and comfortable.