Don't let that fur coat fool you, your pets feel the cold just as well as you; and the cold weather can leave your dog or cat with uncomfortable itching, redness and chapped paws. To help prevent cold weather damage in pets, here are some things you can do:
1) As with humans, dogs and cats get flaky skin when the air is too dry. To avoid this for your pets, and yourself, EasyPetFence.com suggests keeping your home humidified. After outdoor activities, especially if it is snowing in your area, clean off your pet's foot pads.
2) Bathing your pets is essential; but bathing them too often can leave them with dry, itchy skin. It's best to use moisturizing shampoo on your pets to avoid irritating skin.
3) We all need haircuts; but in the wintertime, it's best to keep your dog's hair longer. Never completely shave your dog's fur. Trim their fur to manage tangling. Once the fur becomes matted, it will become hard to run a brush easily through their fur. On snowy days, dry your pet's fur completely and remove ice clumps from fur to avoid knots.
4) Just like people, your dog has tolerances to the cold. Know your animal's limits - if they are shaking, appear anxious or have a lower activity level, they need to come inside to play. Never keep your dog outside for extended periods of time. Your dog should not stay outside without access to a warm, inside unit - at all times. Be sure that your dog has plenty of fresh, clean water and blankets to snuggle and keep warm. Also, check on your dog often, if they will be outside for more than 30 minutes.
5) You may chuckle, even roll your eyes, when you see a dog wearing a scarf or jacket, but these pet clothing items keep your animals warm in the winter. If you are going for long walks with your pets, you may consider purchasing animal clothes.
6) On the subject of walking your dog, avoid walking over ice and stay away from frozen ponds. You don't know if the ice can support your weight, let alone your dog's weight. It's not worth the risk.
Most importantly, it's best to be prepared for the cold weather. Talk to your vet about proper pet nutrition, pet care and other ways to keep your pet healthy this season.