November has arrived, and if you’re like most New Yorkers you are probably already ready for winter; the hats, coats, and boots have been pulled out, weatherproofing has been done in the home, and hot chocolate has been stocked up in the pantry. Pets need extra TLC during the colder months as well, and with our winter pet care tips, keeping furry family members warm, dry, and healthy should be a snap!
Winter Pet Care
Regular grooming is an important part of winter pet care. Consider the following:
- Your dog’s extra-thick winter coat needs daily brushing to remove dirt and loose hair, stimulate blood flow to the skin, and distribute oil throughout the fur.
- Pets should still be bathed regularly during winter, especially if they are getting muddy during outdoor walks or play.
- Paw care takes on a new level of importance during the colder months. Make sure your pet’s nails are trimmed and that you are wiping their paws after each trip outside. Watch for mud or ice balls in between the toes, and check the pads for cracks or irritation frequently.
- Your dog’s bathing schedule does not need to change just because it’s winter. However, make sure your pet is completely dry before going outside.
- Take special care to make sure your pet’s ears stay clean and dry after walks and baths.
Singing In The Rain
Although you may not be getting out as much, winter doesn’t mean your pet’s daily walks can stop. Most pets could benefit from a warm sweater or waterproof jacket on cold, wet walks to keep them from getting chilled, just make sure you take the sweater off once you are home to prevent matted, tangled fur.
Shorter days mean planning ahead for your dog’s evening walks. Walking after dark can’t always be avoided, but clip-on blinking lights and reflective wear (vests, collars, etc.) can help keep you and your dog safe as you traverse the city streets.
All Work And No Play…
Makes Fido a dull boy! Don’t neglect your pet’s natural desire for fun and play just because it’s cold outside. Keeping your pet’s body moving and brain sharp keeps winter weight gain and cabin fever at bay:
- Doggie Daycare – Daycare is a wonderful way for social dogs to get some energy out in a safe and fun environment.
- Training classes – Winter is the perfect time for your dog to bone up on their basic obedience commands, or better yet sign them up for an agility class to really get the blood pumping.
- Mental Stimulation – Feeding time can be a good opportunity to wear your pet out by using food puzzles, slow feeder bowls, or by placing pieces of kibble around the home and encouraging your pet to “hunt” for dinner.
- Fun at home – Depending on your indoor space, many outside games can be played indoors such as fetch or tug-of-war. Cats can spend hours enjoying an empty cardboard box or paper bag, or batting around a crumpled up piece of tissue paper. Chasing toys up and down a set of stairs is another great way to burn calories.
Fleas, ticks, and mosquitos don’t disappear completely during winter. If you need a refill on your pet’s parasite preventive medication, or have any other questions regarding winter pet care, don’t hesitate to contact your team at Animal Kind Veterinary Hospital.