Just like humans, all animals have certain tolerances that they are able to withstand when it comes to outdoor conditions.
Wild animals have a natural instinct to properly care for themselves during extreme hot and cold weather. But, what about domesticated animals?
Domestic dogs and cats still have wellness instincts, but most of them have never had to survive without their beloved owner to look after their well being.
With the frigid months ahead, here are some tips to help your fur baby live comfortably through the blustery Minnesota winter.
Begin with a check up
Just like humans, pets need to be seen by a doctor at least once a year. It is as good time as any to get them checked before the coldest months of the year. Your vet will let you know if your pet is healthy enough to be outside for periods of time and if their joints and bones are healthy for extensive snow activity.
There is nothing more adorable than a pet wearing an outfit! They usually aren’t as entertained as their owners BUT this is a great way to protect them from the harsh weather. Many stores now sell coats of all sizes as well as boots/socks for their paws. If you choose to dress your pet up, ensure that the clothing is water proof, slip resistant and well fitting.
Post walk wipe down
After your pet spends some time outside, make sure to give them a good wipe down. While on a walk, pets are susceptible to deicers, harmful salt and antifreeze. These chemicals can wedge their ways into cracks in their paws and cause health issues. Consider using pet friendly winter products!
Now, this may seem to be an obvious one, but not always. Many people have the perception that pets do better on ice because they have 4 legs. They are still able to slip, possibly causing torn ligaments, sprains and broken bones. Not only is there a slip factor, but there is a fall through factor as well. Pets are not aware of how many inches of ice are on the lake. They are just happy to be out in the open. Make sure you keep your pet on some sort of a leash to control what areas they are running around in. A pet falling through the ice could put both of your lives in jeopardy.
We love to take our pets with us on car rides, they enjoy it too! Always keep in mind the temperatures outside. If you’re shivering with your coat on, chances are they are feeling the cold too. Just like in the summer, do not keep your pet in the vehicle for long periods of time. If it feels to cold, leave them at home.
Bring the “outside pets” inside
If you have pets that are typically kept outside, give warm options as well. Some good ideas could be a dog house with a plastic flap. This keeps out the cold but allows them to come and go as they please. Another option would be to clean out a space in your garage or shed. Anywhere besides out in the negative temperatures with harsh wind. Frost bite can be detrimental to your pets health.
Correct feeding habits
Pets, just like humans need extra calories to burn extra energy. In the winter months they will need more energy to create heat to stay warm. With that being said, many owners believe that they need to feed their pets a little more, to ensure they have enough fat on their body to keep them warm. This can be risky. It is recommended by the American Veterinary Medical Association that you continue feeding them their healthy serving size. If they appear to be losing weight, up their food intake slightly, until the weight loss seems to stop.