Even when it’s cold and snowy out, dogs need to go for walks or at least out in the yard a few times a day. If you have cats that go outside, keep in mind that winter can be a dangerous time for them to be outdoors. Use the following tips to make winter safe for pets all season long.
Keep Antifreeze Out of Reach
Antifreeze has a sweet taste that pets are drawn to. Since this substance is highly toxic for them when it’s ingested, it’s important to store it where they can’t get to it. Check your garage for antifreeze spills, and clean them up right away if you spot any. When you’re taking your dog for walks, you should also keep an eye out for antifreeze in driveways or on sidewalks.
Wipe Your Pets’ Paws
Pets can pick up potentially harmful substances, such as rock salt, on their paws when they go outdoors during winter. Licking this salt off their paws can cause digestive problems and other health issues. Salt can also irritate the pads on their paws. When your pets come in after being outside, wipe their paws off. You should also check their paws to see if they’re chapped or cracked from winter’s dry air.
Limit Outdoor Time
When your pets are outside during winter, especially when it’s extremely cold, limit the amount of time they’re out there. It doesn’t take long for pets to be at risk of hypothermia or frostbite when it’s below freezing. Keep in mind that senior pets and young ones feel the effects of cold temperatures more quickly. For some breeds of dogs, consider putting a sweater on dogs that will be outside longer than a few minutes.
Keep Pets Visible
Remember that it gets dark out earlier during the winter months. If you’ll be taking your dog for walks in the evening, make sure that both of you are visible to drivers. Use a leash and collar that are reflective, or put a reflective coat on your dog for walking when it’s dark. Keep your dog near you if you have to walk in the street at all, such as when you’re crossing it.
Check ID and Microchip Information
Make sure that your pet’s ID tags and microchip information are up-to-date. Pets get lost more easily during winter, since snow covers up familiar scents and makes it harder for them to get back home on their own. Having a microchip and ID tags increases their chance of being brought home to you safely.
Follow these tips, and you and your pets can enjoy the winter months together safe and sound all season long.