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  • Jennifer herne

Winter Pet Tips

(Photo: Wix)

The snow is on its way and we want to make sure you are prepared and that your pet is safe. Your furry friend may have a thick coat so this may lead you to believe that he can be out in the cold for long periods of time. While certain breeds such as the Husky are bred to be more cold tolerant, this does not mean that they are not susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia.

So, just how tolerant to cold is your pet? Just like people, pets' tolerance for the cold can vary from pet to pet based on their coat, body fat stores, activity level and health. Be aware of your pet's tolerance for cold weather, and adjust accordingly. But no pet should be left outside for long periods of time in below-freezing weather. Many people say, "If it is too cold for you, it is too cold for your pet." This is a good rule to follow. Also, nutritional needs in the winter vary from the nutritional needs during the summer; it is important for you to adjust the diet of your dog to meet their needs.

A trip to the vet for a winter wellness visit is also a good idea. Some conditions in your dog such as arthritis will worsen in the winter. A fun thing to do for some pet parents is dress up. You can add a new jacket or booties to your pets' wardrobe, it is fashionable and functional!

It is NOT recommend keeping any pet outside for long periods of time, but if you are unable to keep your dog inside during cold weather, provide him/her with a warm, solid shelter against wind. Make sure that they have unlimited access to fresh, non-frozen water (by changing the water frequently or using a pet-safe, heated water bowl). The floor of the shelter should be off the ground (to minimize heat loss into the ground) and the bedding should be thick, dry and changed regularly to provide a warm, dry environment. The door to the shelter should be positioned away from prevailing winds. Space heaters and heat lamps should be avoided because of the risk of burns or fire. Heated pet mats should also be used with caution because they are still capable of causing burns.

Keep these winter tips in mind when caring for your pet.

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