Winter Pet Health Tips

January 2019

For much of the United States, cooler temperatures have taken hold. Some parts of the country have already seen snow and ice this season. Here are a few tips to help keep your pets healthy and safe this winter.

  • Take care of paws and pads – Cold temperatures, snow, ice, salt, sand, and deicers can all be rough on paws and pads. Additionally, some deicers can be toxic to pets if they are ingested. The paws, pads, hindquarters, belly and tail should all wiped down with a towel after coming in from outside. Tomlyn’s Protecta-Pad Cream should be applied to paws and pads regularly to help maintain the skin’s barrier function. Regular use of the product can also help soothe rough and cracked pads and nails.
  • Be careful on snow and ice – Much like people, pets can easily slip, fall and become injured on the snow and ice. Whenever possible, it is best to leash walk pets for optimal safety and control.
  • Have an emergency supply kit at home and in the car – Snow, ice, power outages, and broken pipes can all create emergency situations where you may get stranded in the winter. It is important to have emergency kits available at home and in the car. At home, the emergency kit should include a seven day supply of food and water, blankets, bedding, copies of veterinary records and a first aid kit. The car kit should contain spare collars, leashes, bowls, blankets, food, water, vaccine records, and a first aid kit.
  • Adjust the diet – Some dogs, particularly working dog breeds thrive on cold temperatures and playing in the snow. Owners may actually find that it is difficult to get these animals to come inside in the winter! Since these pets may have increased activity at this time of year compared to warmer months, they may need additional nutrition to support them. However, other dogs may not enjoy being outside, or experience increased stiffness and joint discomfort in cooler temperatures. These dogs will require less nutritional support in the winter in order to prevent them from gaining extra weight. Your veterinarian can provide you with specific guidance on any necessary seasonal adjustments to make with your pet’s diet. Additionally, giving Tomlyn’s Joint & Hip daily can help keep pets comfortable and moving throughout the season.
  • Find alternate sources of stimulation – Since dogs and cats may not be as eager to be active outside at this time of year, owners should look for alternative ways to provide positive and productive stimulation for their pets. Food puzzles, games, and new toys can all be helpful.
  • Care for outdoor cats – Provisions for outdoor cats should be made so they have appropriate shelter from the elements during the winter. Outdoor cats should have access a sheltered area that provides a wind break and bedding for warmth. Food and water should be available in a location where it won’t freeze. A sunny location that warms during the day can be a great spot. Outdoor cats may need additional rations in the winter to keep warm and maintain appropriate body condition in the colder months. It is always wise to tap the hood of your car and check between the tires during the winter months. Cats tend to seek warmth and shelter in those locations, and can get hurt when the vehicle moves.

When in doubt, if it is too cold for you to be comfortable outside, it is likely to be too cold for your pet. Stay warm and safe this winter!

Tomlyn Veterinary Sciences

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