Winter Pet Care Tips
Winter’s dry, cold air and snow can cause dry, itchy paws and skin but pets are also at risk for injury from de-icing agents and extreme temperatures.
Here are some winter tips from Wheat Ridge Animal Control:
- Use a humidifier to reduce dry, flaky skin. Dry your pet’s paws as soon as he/she comes indoors and pay special attention to pads and in-between toes. Make sure and remove any snow balls from between toes.
- Bring a towel on long walks to clean off irritated paws. After each walk, wash and dry your pet’s feet and stomach to remove ice, salt and chemicals—and check for cracks in paw pads or redness between the toes.
- Keep baths to a minimum in winter. Washing removes oils that are essential to a healthy coat. Washing too frequently or without using a moisturizing shampoo or conditioner may increase dry, flaky skin.
- Add a little extra food during the winter. Pets burn extra energy trying to stay warm in the winter. They need extra calories, and make sure there is always adequate water available too.
- Keep coats a little longer in winter so pets stay warmer. Don’t shave down to the skin. Long hair is susceptible to ice/snow balls and can even collect de-icing chemicals. Remember to clip the hair between toes as well.
- Consider a coat or sweater if your dog is short-haired or smooth-coated. Find one with a high collar or turtleneck for temperatures where coverage from the base of the tail to the belly is critical in order to stay warm while outside.
- Use booties if your dog will keep them on. Massaging petroleum jelly or other paw protectants into paw pads before going outside can also help protect from salt and chemical agents. Always use pet-friendly ice melt on sidewalk and driveways.
- Be sure to thoroughly clean up any antifreeze spills from your vehicle, and consider products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol which is deadly for pets.
- Provide a warm place to curl up inside, and out of extreme weather, that is off the floor and away from drafty doors and windows.
- Don’t leave pets alone in a cold car as vehicles hold in the cold and can cause animals to freeze to death.
- Remember, if it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet.