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Wilbraham Animal Hospital - Western Massachusetts

Caring for Your Pet This Winter

Last winter was relatively mild for New England. With that said, weather forecasters are calling for a colder, snowier winter this year. While a jaunt through the snow can be a wonderful adventure for your pet, it’s important to understand what winter safety precautions to take to keep your pet safe through the winter both in and outdoors.

Keep Your Pet off the Floor

If you have hardwood floors, then it’s important to have a good-quality dog or cat bed available for your pet. The floor is always colder than the rest of your house. After all, heat rises. Bare floors can be cold, and so too can the air near the ground.

Even with carpet, your pet should have a decent bed that they can get cozy and warm in. Without one, they’ll be, at best, uncomfortable, and at worst, suffer from joint pain and severe cold.

Consider a Safer Ice Melt Product

Rock salt and ice melt, if used correctly, should be safe enough for your pet. However, we recommend avoiding products that contain propylene glycol—it’s the very same stuff that goes into antifreeze. Not only is it extremely poisonous to dogs and cats, but it has an enticingly sweet taste that attracts them to the substance. Look for ice melt products that are rated for pet safety.

Invest in a Quality Humidifier

Humidifiers are an important part of any household during the winter. Excessively dry air can damage your home and cause dry skin problems for both your family as well as your pets. A humidifier will keep your pet’s skin from becoming too dry and will minimize overgrooming and discomfort.

Protect Your Pet’s Paws

Believe it or not, while your dog might not complain or show signs of irritation, the cold, ice, and ice-melt-laden sidewalks are doing a number on their paws. Winter is tough on your pet’s paws, so we recommend you invest in a pet boots product (a simple covering for their paws) or massage their paws with petroleum jelly. What does petroleum jelly do? It moisturizes their paws while adding a protective barrier.

If It’s Too Cold for You, It’s Too Cold for Your Pet

At the end of the day, you are the best gauge for your pet’s comfort. If the weather is making you uncomfortable, then it could be doing the same to your pet. We are much larger, better-regulated animals, so any amount of discomfort you feel could be double or triple for your pet, depending on their breed and size. To put it simply, if it’s too cold for you, then it’s too cold for your pet.

Is it time for a checkup? Reach out to us today to schedule an appointment for your animal!