We aren’t the only ones who need to bundle up to protect ourselves from the cold. These winter months are just as hard on our furry friends. The following guidelines from the ASPCA will help you protect your companion animals when the mercury dips.
- Keep your cat inside. Outdoors, felines can freeze.
- During the winter, outdoor cats sometimes sleep under the hoods of cars. When the motor is started, the cat can be injured or killed by the fan belt. If there are outdoor cats in your area, bang loudly on the car hood before starting the engine to give the cat a chance to escape.
- Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm—dogs can lose their scent and easily become lost. More dogs are lost during the winter than during any other season, so make sure yours always wears ID tags.
- Thoroughly wipe off your dog’s legs and stomach when he comes in out of the sleet, snow or ice. He can ingest salt, antifreeze or other potentially dangerous chemicals while licking his paws and his paw pads may also bleed from snow or encrusted ice. (Check out our All Natural Paw Rub solution, perfect for those chapped paws and noses!)
- Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth. When you bathe your dog in the colder months, be sure to completely dry him before taking him out for a walk. Own a short-haired breed? Consider getting him a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly. For many dogs, this is regulation winter wear. Your local Three Dog Bakery carries great winter gear. Their experts can help you with any questions you might have.
- Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death.
- Puppies do not tolerate the cold as well as adult dogs, and may be difficult to housebreak during the winter. If your puppy appears to be sensitive to the weather, you may opt to paper-train him inside. If your dog is sensitive to the cold due to age, illness or breed type, take him outdoors only to relieve him or herself.
- Does your dog spend a lot of time engaged in outdoor activities? Increase his supply of food, particularly protein, to keep him—and his fur—in tip-top shape. Your dog food should be a good source of protein. Always check the label to make sure protein is the first ingredient.
- Like coolant, antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Animals are attracted to antifreeze becuase of its sweet taste. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle, and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol. Visit the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center more information.
- Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.
Dogs get cold in the cold weather just like people do and it is important to make sure your dog is as comfortable as you can make him or her. Winter is the perfect time of year to snuggle up – so have fun and stay warm! And of course, nothing warms those paws like a nice treat from Three Dog Bakery.