We know you love your pets. But when winter rolls around, sharing your home with a dog or cat becomes just a bit more complicated—and a bit messier. We can’t eliminate those issues entirely, but here are some tips for keeping pets calm, clean and healthy during the cold months.
Find Alternate Forms of Exercise for Your Pets
When there’s frost in the air and snow on the ground, your indoor/outdoor cat may spend much more of her time inside and romps in the park with your dog may be rarer and shorter—if they happen at all. But your pets still need exercise, both for their health and happiness, and so that they don’t decide to burn that excess energy by eating your shoes. Make sure to get out for walks when possible and to find ways to get your pets active indoors on the coldest of days. Give cats something new to climb on and explore, or take time out for a game of tug-of-war with the dog.
Battle Snow and Ice (Outdoors and In)
Snow and ice pose two distinct problems for pet owners: They’re uncomfortable (and possibly health hazards) for your pet, and those furry little guys tend to carry a lot of the outdoor mess back into your apartment. A little preparation will help address both issues. First, make sure your pet is adequately dressed for the weather. Though clothing for your dog may seem silly to some, don’t assume that his fur coat is enough for the coldest days or forget that his bare paws are on the ice. Putting on boots not only protects his foot pads, but means you can slip off the coating of snow when you walk back through the door.
Then, be ready for your return home. Keep a towel near the door you’ll be coming through and a small bucket of room-temperature water. When your pet gets ice and snow between his foot pads and snowballs in his fur, a quick dip in lukewarm water is the easiest way to remove them.
Watch Out for Seasonal Safety Hazards
For many people, cold weather signals that it’s time to refill the antifreeze in the car and make sure there’s a fresh supply on hand. That’s good for your car, but if left lying around or spilled on the ground during fill-up, it can be hazardous to your pets. Antifreeze is not only toxic, it’s very attractive to animals. Make sure to keep containers closed and out of reach of pets and be careful about spills. If your pet does get into coolant, don’t waste time observing—organ failure can occur quickly, so get him straight to the vet.