winter dog outdoors

Caring for four-legged family members just as any other child or sibling has become the norm for most households. As our pups and feline friends spend more time cuddling on the couch, and going on adventures with the family, it’s important that we learn about the proper ways to care for them so that they are always well protected and safe.

The winter months can be especially harsh on them. Here are the things to keep in mind this cold season when it comes to your family’s pets.

Understand the Breed

While not all animal breeds are known, it’s important to understand what some of the characteristics that make up your pet are. Things like the length of the fur on their coat or other health issues can cause more concerns when the ground is frozen outdoors and the temps are below freezing.

If your dog has a short-haired coat they can get cold pretty easily so consider getting them a sweater to wear when it’s time to go outside. Worried about your pup’s paws? There are also boots and shoes you can purchase to protect their skin from tearing.

Be Mindful of Ice Melt and Other Chemicals

To keep the roads clear and free of ice, most towns and residents will lay out salt and other chemicals that melt ice on contact. Much of these can be harmful to pets. For your own property, choose a pet-safe option and when walking on public property be mindful to keep your pup away from areas where salt is visible. Always wipe their paws as soon as you get indoors just in case. Licking that harmful substance off their paws can result in sickness or worse. Antifreeze liquid is also harmful if ingested so watch that your dog is not licking up liquids from the floor to be safe.

Be Mindful of Outdoor Animals

If you’ve typically let your cat outdoors then it will likely still want to go explore even in the winter. Some cats can seek out the warmth in the wheel well of cars. Drive mindfully and check that no wildlife is seeking warm refuge in or around your car before you drive away. Beep the horn if unsure to give them a chance to scurry away.

Prepare for Disasters

There’s a lot of potential disasters that could happen over the winter. For pet owners, there’s the added chance of losing a pet during dangerous weather events. Prepare in advance by keeping a chip to locate your pet on his collar at all times and use the leash whenever possible. Even in familiar territory, a dog may not be able to smell the usual markers and scents he uses to navigate around if it’s buried under several inches of snow.

Enjoying the uninhibited companionship of a pet is a wonderful thing. This winter, snuggle up indoors and remember to keep this important member of the family safe just as you would the others in your home.