The winter months are full of perils for our furry friends, and it’s our responsibility to protect them! There are a number of things you need to be aware of as a pet parent, so here are six great tips to keeping your pet comfortable and happy through the winter months.
1. Reflective gear: The days are shorter during the winter, but that doesn’t mean your dog wants to take shorter walks! Consider purchasing some reflective gear for you and your dog so you can be seen and safe on your wintery strolls.
2. Clean your pet’s paws: After those lovely walks, make sure you carefully clean your pet’s paws to remove ice and salt, both of which can irritate their paws and cause them pain. Use warm water and a towel to gently clean any of these substances off the paws.
3. Dog boots: To help keep your pet comfortable on winter walks, purchase some dog boots. For all sizes and breeds of dogs, boots help minimize the contact between your dog’s feet and harmful chemicals. Not only that, but they prevent painful ice balls from forming on the paws of dogs with particularly hairy paws.
4. Proper doghouse: If your dog spends any extended period of time outside, they need a proper and suitable doghouse according to the Ontario SPCA Act, all year round. If dogs are tethered in any way outside they need ready access to a shelter so they can get out of the wind and cold.
5. Avoid Antifreeze: If you can, avoid using antifreeze on your car. To animals, the poisonous substance tastes sweet but if ingested they only need a small amount to permanently damage their kidney. Do some research and purchase the pet-friendly substitute to antifreeze instead. If you have to to change your car’s antifreeze, be very careful not to spill any around your car, and if it does spill, clean it thoroughly with detergent.
6. Check your car’s hot spots: Before starting your car in the winter, check your car hood and wheel wells for stray cats, or other wildlife. Animals may hide in those places to keep out of the cold, so it’s important to be aware.
7. No pets in cars! : In the winter your car can reach dangerously cold temperatures very fast. Whether it’s a quick coffee break, or a trip to the shopping mall, do not leave your pet alone in your car. Leave them at home where they are safe and warm, or stay in the car with them. To report a dog or cat in a car, call 310-SPCA in Ontario (for other provinces, contact your local SPCA or Humane Society, they will direct you to the appropriate help).
There you have it! Some tips to keep your pets safe through the wintery months. Enjoy them as best as you can!