Ensuring Your Pet Is Safe and Comfortable All Winter Long
As they say on Game of Thrones, winter is coming, even if it has not yet arrived where you live. It seems that we always do certain things to gear up for the winter weather. We swap our shorts for long pants, get out the long, warm socks, put away the spring coats, and find that other glove that went missing last April.
However, it should also be just as much a priority to get your pet ready for winter and making sure they will be both safe and comfortable all winter long. Your pet, just like we humans do, undergoes a lot of changes in the winter, including physical and mental transformations.
So what does your pet need? It’s really a matter of common sense, but let’s take a look at a few things to remember.
It’s Getting Hot in Here
We tend to try to save money on heating as we prepare our houses for the winter months, and sometimes that means we turn down the heat really low when we are not home. However, we can’t forget our furry friends who are there all day. In some cases, the heat might need to stay up a little higher to make sure they are comfortable and your home is at the right temperature for your pets.
In the case of some winter dogs though, they might be warmer than you are. You can tell alot about how temperature is affecting your pet by watching their behavior.
A dog or cat’s body temperature is somewhere around 3-4 degrees higher than yours. So if you are cold, generally they are too, and if you are warm, so are they. You can help them by putting beds and blankets around which make it easy for them to find a warm spot to lay.
Also, you can get a programmable thermostat that will help you save money on utilities while ensuring your home is the right temperature for everyone. Make sure doors and windows are well sealed, and your house is winterized well, or you will be sending heat out into the atmosphere.
We Be Trippin’
Pets being inside all the time in the winter means their toys are all over the place too, unless you have a system for keeping them out from under your feet. Remember, you will be wearing socks or slippers in the winter months, and you may be more susceptible to tripping on those playthings in the hall.
- Have a basket where toys go, and if your pet is smart enough, you can even teach them to put their things away when they are done playing.
- Vacuum and/or clean carpets more often in the winter. You’ll have less hair to contend with, and your house will look and smell better.
- Be sure to pick up before you go to bed. Late night or early morning trips to the kitchen or the bathroom can be hazardous when your fogged brain doesn’t remember those toys all over the place.
If you don’t want to be trippin’ this winter, be sure you have a toy plan for your pets and stick with it.
I’m Not Going Out There
One of the biggest issues in the winter is that your pup may not want to go out when it is cold, snowy, or both. Unfortunately, that is where they are supposed to go to the bathroom, and shorter days when it is dark in the morning and afternoon do not make this an easy problem to solve. However, there are some things you can do.
- Get a dog run with a roof or cover. This way, the dogs will have a cleared off place to go.
- Get puppy pads and designate a go area, cleaning it often. This is not ideal, but if you are desperate, it might have to work.
- Go out with your pup and walk them when you need to. This may mean shoveling part of the lawn and going for some cold walks, but soon your pup will learn that once he or she goes, you can go home.
Getting your dog to go outside in winter is an important key to keeping them and you happy and healthy. Try to make the process as comfortable for them as possible.
One of the things people often struggle with is keeping your floors clean. Winter means mud and muck along with the snow, and it’s hard to stop your dog from dragging it inside, making for tripping and slip hazards.
There are mitts that are commercially available to wipe their paws when they come inside but an old towel you can wash frequently will do the trick. Try to bring your pups in on tile or hardwood floors if possible. If not, put down a plastic runner or something to cover the carpet for the season.
Have a cat? The same rules apply, although getting them to cooperate to be dried off and cleaned can be a bit more challenging, as the feline temperament generally does not lend itself to embracing such activity. Still, it is important that you get and keep them as clean and dry as possible, not only for your own sanity but for their health as well.
Girl, I Workout
Yes, your pet still needs exercise in the winter, and when they spend too much time idle inside, they can get out of shape just like we tend to in the colder months. What’s the solution? They are not surprisingly similar to the answers for us, their owners.
- Bundle them up. Coats, booties, and other accessories can keep your pup warm outside for walks or even runs in the winter. Just keep them short, and keep an eye on their health, including frostbite or cuts from ice on the pads.
- Exercise inside. Fetch, running up and down stairs, wrestling, and any other activities you can do indoors are great for your pet.
- Training. Winter is a good time to take a training class indoors. You and your pup will both get some exercise and have some fun, and you’ll get a more well-mannered dog out of the deal too.
Winter is a good time of year to spend time with your pet indoors so they are ready for the great outdoors come spring.
Planning to travel this winter and take your pet with you? It is best to be prepared for that too. Be sure that you not only have supplies for yourself in the car but that you have food and water for your pet, just in case you were to get stranded for some reason. Have enough blankets for everyone, including your furry pals.
Take care of their safety too. The winter is a bad time for accidents. Have seatbelts or harnesses for your pets or crate them inside your vehicle. Make frequent stops and try to make smooth movements so they do not get tossed around in the vehicle.
If you are in an accident, let first responders know you have pets with you to ensure they know your pet needs to be rescued if they are still trapped..
Winter can be tough on everyone, but don’t forget about your pets. Take every step possible to make sure they are safe and comfortable all winter long, and they’ll be healthier and happier until spring finally arrives.
Noah Yarnol Rue is always looking where his next trip will take him . When he’s not traveling the world, he’s writing articles on the new things he learns. Noah also enjoys a good meme from time to time. You can find Noah on LinkedIn.