It's getting colder by the day! It will become increasingly important over the next few months to provide good care for outdoor pets. There are several points that we want to make sure pet owners are thinking about over the winter.
Shelter: Animals that can get in out of the wind, snow, and ice will stay warm and happy this winter. Make sure there is comfortable bedding to encourage your animals to go inside when it gets nasty outside.
Grooming: Make sure your pet's fur is not matted. Mats prevent the animal's fur from forming a protective layer of undercoat to keep them warm.
Water: Make sure your animals have 24/7 access to clean, thawed water. Many pet and farm supply stores carry heated water bowls that can be plugged in outside and keep water from freezing so your pets always have a fresh supply.
Food: It is also important to consider what you are feeding your pets in the winter. They will burn more calories than normal in the process of keeping themselves warm, so you may need to increase the amount you feed or switch to a higher calorie food.
Frostbite: Keep an eye on outdoor pets for signs of frostbite. Ears and feet are particularly susceptible areas. Also, make sure snow and ice do not get built up in their footpads.
Winter also presents some problems for indoor pets. It is important to watch their weight in the winter, since they will most likely not be playing as much and they will want to eat more than normal. Encourage your pets to play and burn some calories, and monitor how much you feed them to make sure they don't put on a lot of weight over the winter.
While winter does have its challenges, it can also be a lot of fun. Be sure to keep these things in mind to ensure that your pet stays happy and healthy this winter.
We would like to remind pet owners that even though it is cold outside, it is important to keep animals on monthly heartworm prevention. While transmission of heartworms is not likely in the winter, heartworm prevention also takes care of intestinal worms that might infect your pet. Giving your dogs monthly heartworm preventative through the winter also eliminates the question of when to start in the spring, and the consistency of giving it year-round will help you to remember to give it each month.