As we draw closer to the new year, the temperature and snow will continue to fall. When the weather outside gets colder, we add more layers and protection against the bitter air. While we bundle up, we often forget that our pets may need some additional care as well! Many people think that since dogs and cats are animals they have that wild side that allows them to survive the elements.

However, that is not always the case. Dogs and cats get cold too and can face the same dangers that cold weather brings as we can. From frostbite to hypothermia, your dogs can be more affected by the snow and cold than you may think. This is why these winter care tips for your pets are important to follow!

At Hillsdale Animal Hospital in Advance, we care about your pets just as much as you do. That is why we provide you with tips to help keep them safe and healthy all year long. During the next few months of winter, be sure to follow these winter care tips to keep your pets safe. Read on to learn more!

Add Layers

While some dogs are built for colder weather, others may not be prepared for the drops in temperature. Dogs with short coats often get colder faster than those with long hair. Puppies, elderly dogs, and thin pups also may be more affected by the cold weather. If your dog seems to get cold outside, be sure to dress them warmly. Buy them a sweater or jacket that they can wear during the winter. You can also get your dog booties to protect their feet, however, some dogs may not enjoy these very much. It is best to use booties when your dog is still young so they learn to like them! Even if your dog has long hair or a thick coat, when the temperature drops into the single digits, you will want to consider adding an extra layer to help keep them warm, especially if you take them on long walks.

Limit Time Outdoors

We understand that some dogs have too much energy to keep them inside all day, but when the temperature drops dramatically, it is safer for your dog to limit their time outside. Your dog’s ears, tail, and paws are extremely susceptible to frostbite, and those are areas that are hard to protect. That is why keeping them indoor and warm can help keep them safe and healthy during the winter. If your furry friend must get out multiple times a day, try to take them out when the sun is out! Late mornings and early afternoons are the best times since the sun is out and everything will be a little warmer. If you have to take them out later or early in the morning, try to keep the walks short, minimizing their time spent in the freezing cold.

Keep Cats Inside

If you have a cat who enjoys venturing outside from time to time, work on keeping them inside during the winter. Chances are, they will take one look at the snow on the ground and quickly decline the offer to go outside. But if there is no snow and the air is just cold, your cat may not realize a difference right away. Instead of letting them decide if it is too cold for them to go out, simply try to keep them inside. It may be hard for them and you, but it is better to be safe than sorry. And if you manage to get a sweater or jacket on your cat, a little outside time can be their reward.

Check the Hood

When it comes to cold weather and cats, you will want to take caution when starting your car. Cats often hide in the wheel well of cars to stay warm. Turning your car on while someone is taking a cat nap in this area can severely hurt the little guy. Bang on your hood to startle any cats that may have used your car as a bed and give them a chance to escape safely.

Provide Shelter

While we believe that every pet should live inside, some people have their pets live outdoors during most of the year. If this is you, please give them shelter when the temperatures get too cold. Bring them inside for the time being, even if you put up barriers to keep them in certain rooms of the house. If you do not want to bring your pets inside, get them a shelter. A dog house that is big enough for them to move around but small enough to allow them to use their body heat to stay warm is the perfect size. Make sure this shelter is draft-free and will stay warm throughout the winter.

Provide a Bed

Whether you have a cat or dog, a cozy bed that can keep them warm during the winter months in a necessity. A bed will help keep them off the cold floor and will allow them to get cozy and warm when the nights get cold. If you do not have a dog or cat bed for your pet, invest in one now and add some old blankets that your pet can cuddle up with.

Be Smart About Walks

When you walk your dog, make sure to always keep them on a leash and make sure they are microchipped. Dogs can get lost more easily in the winter since snow can cover up the scents they are used to. If your dog escapes, you will want someone to be able to return them to you. You will also want to be aware of walking in the dark. Since it gets darker this time of year, you may have to walk them in the dark after getting off work. Get a light-up leash or reflective gear for both of you to keep you safe while walking on the road or sidewalk.

These are a few of the many winter care tips to follow in order to keep your pets safe! If you notice a problem with your pet, whether it is related to the cold or not, be sure to schedule an appointment at Hillsdale Animal Hospital in Advance. We will help take care of your pets and get them back to their healthy and happy selves. As the weather drops and the snow continues to fall, be aware of how the cold might affect your pets and how to keep them safe. If it is too cold for you, it is likely too cold for them!