It’s no secret that as soon as the temperature begins to fall below freezing, it’s necessary to exercise caution to avoid frostbite. What about your pet? Despite their thick coat, animals are very sensitive to winter temperatures – it is therefore necessary to take extra precautions. Read the advice below to learn how to protect your pet during the cold season.
The most fragile animals
Small sized juveniles and senior (geriatric) pets, and those with short hair, are more susceptible to cold; the use of a coat designed for this purpose is often necessary during winter outings. In addition, animals that are used to living indoors are generally much more affected by low temperatures than those living outdoors. It is therefore recommended to place their cushion near a source of heat and, above all, away from drafts!
Take care of their paws
Several potential issues await your dog during a winter walk, but it is possible to prevent some of them. For example, trimming the long hair between his pads will prevent the formation of ice clumps that can cause frostbite under his feet. In addition, frequent trimming of your pet's nails will maximize their stability on the ice.
Upon your return home, completely dry your dog. Also take the time to thoroughly rinse their paws to dislodge any salt stuck between their toes, which will prevent any burns. Know that there are boots/slippers specifically designed to protect fragile animals from cold and chemicals. For dogs who don’t tolerate these boots, it is possible to apply a protective balm on their paw pads.
Beware of snow
Even if ingesting snow may seem innocuous, it can cause certain gastric problems in your pet. As well, make sure their belly is not in prolonged contact with the snow during the walk, because it could cause frostbite.
Your animal's hair is naturally covered with sebum, a fatty substance that acts as an insulator. Grooming your dog would only result in the disappearance of this layer of sebum as well as a large amount of hair, its two best allies against winter cold. However, weekly brushings are recommended.
Adapt your winter habits
In winter, if your cat or dog lives outdoors, you should give them 20% extra food daily to offset the energy required to maintain their temperature. (This practice of leaving animals outdoors is rare these days; we usually see owners and some good Samaritans bring their pets and sometimes even stray animals inside). It is also essential to provide protection against wind and snow; to properly insulate the shelter, place straw or dead leaves at the bottom to absorb moisture. Finally, remember that it is essential to keep your pet indoors during extreme cold snaps.