The Potter League for Animals offers tips for preparing dogs, cats for winter.

Hello guys! Your friend Toki is here on my perch at the Potter League. I’ve heard the staff here say that we’re going to have a much warmer winter due to El Nino. I certainly hope that’s true, especially for dog walkers in the Potter League, but I believe in being prepared (just like Scouts!), so here are a few things you can do with your own. Can do to keep furry friends safe in cold weather. .

Support good health.

Keeping your pets safe in the winter starts with making sure they are healthy. Your pet should visit the vet at least once a year to make sure they are healthy enough to go outside in cold weather.

How cold is too cold?

Just like people, different pets tolerate the cold differently. Pets with long or thick coats, such as collie dogs, may be more tolerant of cold weather, while short-haired pets, such as Chihuahuas, may need less time outside during the cold. Older pets may have trouble walking on snow and ice, and those with certain illnesses may have trouble regulating their temperature. Consider short walks or letting them out in the yard, if yours is fenced, for short potty breaks.

Bundle up

If you have a pet with a short coat or fur, a sweater or coat can help keep them warm while outside. Have more than one available in case it gets wet. Applying a wet coat to your dog will help him cool down faster. You can also get boots to protect your pet’s paws.

Enjoy some indoor activities.

Just because a pet has a natural fur coat does not mean they are more resistant to the cold. Pets can get hypothermia and frostbite just like people. Even if your pet has a high cold tolerance, no pet should be left in the cold for long periods of time. If you’re out and about with your pets, don’t leave them in the car. It can be just as dangerous as leaving it in a hot car in the summer.

Clean your nails.

Dogs and cats can pick up ice melt tablets or antifreeze on their paws, which can be toxic if they lick their paws. Be sure to clean their bellies after being out in snow or ice, especially if you have a cat or a down-to-earth dog like a dachshund! Check their paws for cracks or other injuries from walking on snow and ice. Trimming the fur between their toes can help limit ice build-up on their paws, and rubbing petroleum jelly into their paws can help protect them from snowmelt pellets and other chemicals.

Home for the holidays

Make sure your pet has a collar with an updated identification tag and a microchip in case it gets lost. Pets that normally have no problem finding their way home can get lost because snow and ice can mask the scents that normally help them find their way.

Get pet proof.

Make sure your home is pet-proof for the winter. If you have space heaters, keep them where they can’t be knocked over and not near where your pets sleep, as contact with them can cause burns. If you have a pet bird, make sure to keep their cage away from dry areas. Check your heating system and install a carbon monoxide detector. This helps keep both animals and human family members safe! Be prepared for storms and power outages by keeping supplies of food, water and any necessary medications on hand for both you and your pets.

Walking on thin ice

Be careful when walking your dog near water, such as ponds and streams. The surface may appear frozen but may not be strong enough to support your pet’s weight, causing them to fall. And if you try to rescue them, which most pet owners do, you can both be at risk.

Be a good neighbor.

If you have outdoor animals in your neighborhood that you care for, provide a shelter for them. A thick cardboard box with a plastic storage box or a warm blanket on its side can shelter a cat or two. Place the shelter in a well-ventilated area and leave small amounts of food and water regularly.

See the signs

If your pet starts shivering, crying or looking for a place to burrow when they are outside, these are signs of hypothermia, and you should bring your pet inside quickly. Frostbite can cause discoloration, blisters, and pain in the affected area. If you think your pet may have hypothermia or frostbite, contact your veterinarian immediately.

I hope these tips help you ensure the well-being of your furry friends during the winter season. Wishing you and your pets a safe and happy holiday season!

Your friend, Toki

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