Old man winter can bring freezing temperatures, dump loads of snow, and cause slick, icy conditions that are just as dangerous for your pet as they are for you. Your pets may love frolicking in fresh snowfall for hours at a time, but as pet owners, we’ve got to keep them safe and healthy. Here are five things to help protect your fur baby from the elements this winter season.
Pet ID Tags
If your pet doesn’t already have an ID tag, then it’s high time to get them a tag this winter. It’s easy for your cat to get lost in inclement weather, and they may want to hunker down in a sheltered area versus returning home when the snow starts piling up. And your dog may become so excited with the tracks and smells of other animals on the snow, that they can quickly dart away from you. If your pet is microchipped, that’s a wonderful extra layer of protection, but not everyone who comes across your pet will take them to a facility where it can be checked for a microchip. You should always have a durable metal pet ID tag for their collar so your contact information can easily be identified.
The classic hanging ID tag does have its drawbacks, though. Over time, the friction of movement against your pet’s tag rubbing against other tags or collar hardware will cause low-quality tag text to become unreadable. Many pet owners also don’t like the jingle jangle sound hanging tags make when your pet moves around and scratches its collar. Modern slide-on stainless steel tags are a great alternative. These tags sit flat against your pet’s collar so there’s no noise or wear and tear from friction.
Warm, Water-Resistant Outerwear
Some dogs are well suited for snowy, cold weather and they may not be comfortable wearing a warm jacket outside in winter. Breeds like the husky, malamute, and samoyed have thick coats with a warm underlayer that helps keep out cold and moisture. For these dogs, an hour or two long walk in the snow is pure joy. But medium to short coat breeds were not bred to tolerate low temperatures and will often be happiest with an extra layer of protection.
When shopping for a coat for your pet to use in snowy weather, be sure to find one that is water-resistant. Anything less, and your pet can end up with a cold, wet jacket clinging to them making things even worse. For an added level of safety, look for coats with reflectors or bright, visible colors that help make your pet’s presence known to nearby people and vehicles.
In winter, the ground and paved walkways can get covered in freezing snow, ice, and salt. Your pet’s naked paw pads and the spaces in between are susceptible to becoming caked with these substances, which can dry out their pads causing painful chapped and cracked skin. If you have a nordic breed of dog, like a husky, you may think the extra long fur between his pads will protect him, but ice can more easily cling to that long fur. Boots are the best way to protect their paws, just as they protect your feet from the cold and wet weather. Your pet will need to adjust to wearing booties, and there are many styles to try out from short ankle boots to ones that extend up their legs. Start by training your pet to walk indoors with them on and reward them with treats.
Paw Pad Balms
If your pet really can’t stand wearing boots, then slathering vaseline on their paw pads to create a moisture barrier is the next best option. You can also buy paw pad balms made specifically for dogs who live in regions that see the harshest of winters. Pet balms also come in CBD topicals that can help hydrate paw pads and relieve inflammation.
Pet-Friendly Ice Melt
As we mentioned earlier, ice can do nasty damage to your pet’s paw pads when they walk on it. For pet owners who live in cities, salt on sidewalks isn’t something that can be avoided, besides putting booties on your pet. But for pet owners with yards, a pet-friendly ice melt is a safe and easy way to keep the ice at bay. Pet-friendly ice melts work just the same as salt, and often last for days without reapplication. While these products may be safer to walk on, be sure your pet never eats it!
We hope these winter pet products will help keep your best little friends safe this season! And when the harsh weather and extreme temperatures hit, remember to limit your pet’s time outside and keep them within a safe distance using a leash.