winter with petsWinter in New York is a lot of things, but warm is not one of them. We do a lot to protect ourselves from inclement weather, and it’s important to take the same considerations when it comes to our four-legged family members.

Make this upcoming winter with pets the best one ever with our tips for safety, grooming, and fun!

Winter Grooming

Many pet owners believe that they can get away with less grooming during the cold weather months, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Making sure your pet’s skin and coat are cared for during winter is extremely important thanks to wind, snow, ice, dampness, salt on the streets and sidewalks, and dry, forced heat air inside our homes.

You can keep your pet looking and feeling their best all winter long with the following grooming tips:

  • Regular brushing to remove excess hair and prevent matting and stimulate blood flow to the skin
  • Wipe your dog’s paws and fur after being outside to remove mud and ice and keep the fur from getting too wet
  • Keep up with your dog’s nail trims, and inspect the paw pads regularly for wear and injury due to winter sidewalks
  • Continue to bathe your pet as normal, and consider using a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner to combat dry skin (call us for recommendations)
  • Bring your pet in to visit our professional groomers!

Get The Gear

You have special gear and garments for winter, but why should people have all the fun? Short-haired and smaller dogs can benefit from a well-fitting (but not constricting) sweater or waterproof coat for those cold, wet, bathroom breaks.

Your dog’s paws can easily become injured or even frostbitten on the coldest days. Depending on how often, or for how long, your dog is walked in snowy, icy conditions; you may want to consider waterproof booties. A little Bag Balm on the paw pads will help protect paws, too; just be sure to wipe it, along with any grime, off when you come indoors.

All pets love a warm spot to curl up in on a chilly day. Make sure your pet has a cozy, comfortable bed positioned away from drafts. Smaller or older pets may enjoy a heated blanket or pet bed for added warmth.

Winter With Pets: Fun And Games

The long hours spent indoors during inclement weather can take its toll on your pet, and you! Making it a priority to meet your pet’s needs for physical activity and mental stimulation can prevent behavior problems due to boredom, anxiety, and excess energy.

Try these ideas for creative, indoor fun:

  • Tug of war and fetch (using soft toys) can be played in open areas inside the home, or in a garage if you have one. Cats enjoy feather chase, laser pointer, or even a crumpled piece of paper tossed down the hallway. Provide plenty of toys to entertain your pet, and rotate them often to prevent boredom.
  • Stimulate your pet’s natural hunting/scavenging instincts by using food puzzles, a Kong toy stuffed with peanut butter or frozen canned food, or by hiding a treat or pieces of kibble and encouraging your pet to search for it.
  • Keeping up with your pet’s training over the winter months helps minds stay sharp and bodies stay active. Consider agility training, or set up an obstacle course for your pet in your own home.
  • Social pets benefit from being taken on outings to pet friendly locations, or visiting with friends and their pets. Dog parks and doggie daycare are great options for exercise and having fun with friends.

With a little planning and consideration, it’s possible to keep your pet feeling and looking his or her best regardless of the weather. Your friends at Animal Kind Veterinary Hospital look forward to seeing your four-legged friend at their next wellness examination!