New resolutions. Dirty snow men. Astronomical post holiday credit card statements. Winter is here, and while you bundle up and enjoy the adventures of the season, remember these tips to keep your pet safe and happy.
Be Prepared for Anything
With your arsenal of Russian made sniper rifles, iPad chargers, and drums of diesel fuel, you can easily make it through the apocalypse. Getting through a winter blizzard or power outage will be no problem. Just make sure to stock plenty of fresh water, kibbles, treats, and pet medication in your bunker too.
Maintain Healthy Weight
Every winter, your friends nod along as you explain your swelling waistline as a biological necessity that helps you prepare for cold months ahead. But with exposure limited to the 25’ walk from the parking deck to your office, the benefits of your Santa Claus inspired belly are debatable. And while it’s true that outside pets can benefit from additional calories in winter, don’t assume that overfeeding will protect every pet from the cold. Consider the health risks that come with being overweight, and monitor your pet’s heath throughout winter- adjusting feeding as needed to maintain a healthy body weight.
At summer cookouts, neighborhood collies and German Shepherds pant and watch from the shade while your Jack Russell terrier turns back flips in the sun. In the winter, he shivers while they frolic and have snowball fights. There’s no shame in protecting your short haired dog with a coat or sweater, and some pet owners even use booties to protect their dog’s feet. Just make sure your pet’s clothing fits properly and don’t embarrass them in front of their friends by getting a discount brand.
Winter Wellness Exam
You feel like the Tin Man when you roll out of bed in winter. And you’re only 28. Imagine how your 12 year old lab with arthritis feels on a frosty February morning. Winter is a good a time to schedule a preventative care exam where you veterinarian will make sure she’s as healthy and comfortable as possible for the cold weather ahead.
Regulate Outdoor Activity
On really cold days, your outdoor activity is limited to getting the mail. Don’t assume that just because he has fur that your dog wants to spend the afternoon making snow angels either. Be mindful of your pet’s tolerance to cold weather, and adjust exposure accordingly. Very young or old, or pets with health conditions are especially vulnerable to cold weather. Shorten walks, and be sure to dry your pet thoroughly when returning home. Better yet, stay inside and cozy up to a crackling fire and an afternoon of’ Lassie’ reruns.
Remember the time you staged that daring prison escape, and a well timed blizzard threw the sheriff’s blood hounds off your trail long enough to get a bus ticket to Juarez? Okay, that was in a movie, but the idea is still based on actual science. Snow and ice can hide the familiar scents that your pet uses to find her way home. Be sure she has a microchip or well-fitting collar with current identification and contact information.
Make some noise
That hostel in Croatia. Under the pier in Panama City. You’ve slept in some weird places before, so don’t judge a cat for snuggling up to a warm V-6 for a long winter’s nap. But pulleys, belts and fan blades are unforgiving to soft little bodies, so before you turn the ignition, check underneath your car, tap the horn, and bang on the hood, to rouse any slumbering felines.