To most pet owners, pets are part of the family. They return all the love and friendship they are given and then some. These furry family members need the same care and attention as every other member of the family. You bundle up your kids to go outside in the winter and make sure they're warm and dry when they come back in. Your pets need similar care, and more, when the temperatures drop outside during the winter months.
Protect from chemicals: When the weather gets colder, rodents and insects begin to seek shelter from the cooling temperatures, and as a result, the use of rodenticides and pesticides increases in the fall and winter months. These chemicals are highly toxic to pets when ingested. Always store them out of reach of your pets, and make sure your pets can't reach the chemicals you've placed in and around your house.
Buy a comfortable bed: The cold weather can be hard on your pets' joints, especially for aging pets. Many senior cats and dogs suffer from arthritis, which is aggravated by the cold. Make sure you have a good pet bed for your furry friend to curl up (or stretch out) in. Memory foam pet beds can help relieve pressure on aching joints, and down filling and Sherpa lining helps to keep your furry friend warm.
Increase food: Your pets, especially those who spend a lot of time outdoors, will need more than a cozy bed to keep them warm. A little extra pet food helps them put on a little winter fat and helps their winter coats grow in to keep them nice and toasty in the rain and snow. Starting in the fall, gradually increase the amount of food you're giving your pet, and do the same in reverse when spring rolls around.
Fit in play time: Snow and ice outside means less playtime for many pets. Unfortunately, when animals get bored, they tend to develop bad habits, like chewing, scratching, and digging. Do your best to keep your pet entertained during the long winter months. Replace a game of fetch outdoors with interactive playtime indoors. Use toys and new games to get your pet engaged in some healthy exercise.
Keep up on grooming: Cold weather outside may make it harder to give your dog a bath or brush your cat, but keeping pets clean and groomed throughout the winter can help prevent excess shedding in the spring and painful hairballs. Give your dog a bath every seven to 10 days, or as needed, and use a dry shampoo to keep him clean between washings. Brush your cat's fur on the same schedule, unless you have a long-haired cat that requires daily grooming.