It is beginning to feel a lot like winter here in New England. The first hint it was coming was that it was finally cold enough to pull out my winter coat a couple weeks ago. It started snowing at my house early this morning and as I am looking out the window it is still coming down. Bring on the hot chocolate!
At times like these, I am jealous of my pets' natural fur coats. However, in spite of their built in jackets, they are also susceptible to suffering from the cold weather. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as the thermostat drops lower and snow coats the ground:
1) Pay close attention to your pet's feet in the winter. All of the ice, salt and chemicals can mean that feet take a beating if they aren't cared for. After walks, spot bathe your pet's feet and belly. Inspect the feet for any redness or raw areas. Ice and snow chunks can accumulate between the paw pads and cause discomfort and the salt can work its way into cracks in the skin and cause soreness. In some cases, booties may be a good idea.
2) Even though our pets have natural fur coats, they might benefit from an additional layer (dog coat or sweater) when it is really cold outside. If your pet is shivering, this is an indication that he or she needs some extra protection.
3) If it is too cold for you outside, it is probably too cold for your pet! Keep your pet inside and provide a warm place to lay away from drafts. No hot chocolate though!