Winter is here and depending on which part of the country you are in, you may soon – or perhaps already – find yourself facing snow and ice when you leave the house. Regular walks are an important part of your pet’s care. They help them to get daily exercise, which is essential for weight maintenance, as well as providing the cardiovascular workout needed to keep their heart healthy.
Unfortunately, your pet needs to be walked every day regardless of the colder temperatures and inclement weather. Fortunately, there are things that you can do to make the experience more pleasant for your pet.
Here are our top tips on keeping your pet warm on winter walks.
Buy your dog a coat
Even though your pet has a furry coat, they will still feel the cold just as much as you, even if they are a longer-haired breed. Putting a sweater and/or coat on them before you go out will add an extra layer of insulation. Choose a waterproof variety to keep them dry in the ice, snow and rain.
Yes, dog booties are really a thing, and they are a great way to keep your pet’s paws warm and protected from hazards hidden in the snow, provide added grip and prevent ice forming on their fur and paw pads. Choose the right size to fit over your pet’s paws and make sure you wash them between each walk to remove any salt.
Keep walks shorter, but go more frequently
If it feels like it is too cold to go outside for long periods of time, consider taking your dog on shorter, more frequent walks instead. Just 10 minutes can be enough for your pet to do their business outside and give their muscles and heart a gentle workout.
Avoid icy lakes and ponds
Water that is frozen over may look fun, but it’s actually very dangerous and not just for humans either. There’s no guarantee that frozen ice will support the weight of your dog either, or falling through could prove fatal, not just in terms of drowning but also because your pet could catch hypothermia if they can get back out, so stay well clear.
Secure yards and gardens
If you are letting your pet out in your yard, you should make sure it’s a secure space for them to spend time in. If your dog manages to escape, they could end up wandering and becoming lost in the cold. This poses a range of hazards from being hit by a car or taken by someone, to developing hypothermia from being out in plummeting temperatures for too long.
Know the signs of hypothermia
It’s a good idea for owners to know the signs of hypothermia so that they can spot when their pet is getting too cold and needs immediate medical intervention. They include:
- Stiff muscles
- Pale grey gums
- Low heart rate
- Shallow breathing
- Fixed, dilated pupils
Too cold for you?
Just remember, if it is too cold for you to go outside, even when you are wrapped up in a coat, scarf, gloves etc, then it’s going to be too cold for your pet too. Going out could put them at risk of hypothermia. Stay inside together and play some games instead. You can always make up the exercise with some longer walks when it gets warmer again.
For more tips on keeping your pet warm this winter, call Mokena Animal Clinic in Mokena, Illinois at 708-479-2811 to schedule an appointment.