The colder months are approaching in Northern Va and DC area. The weather will get downright cold! While we walk around in our winter boots and jackets, our pets only have their fur and bare paws to keep them warm. Even though the snow covered streets and trees in Washington DC are beautiful, it can get too cold for your pet to spend the night outside, so bring him inside if the nighttime lows are too cold. Furthermore, it is necessary to pay attention to your pet’s health and grooming in the winter. Your pet will need special grooming in these winter months if he is going to brave the cold elements!
Here are some helpful tips to help keep your pet looking and feeling his best this winter:
Pets’ paws: Be sure to pay close attention to nails, paw pads, and hair growth around the feet when the temperatures drop and it gets snowy and icy. Washington DC and Northern Virginia can get a good amount of snow and ice, so be careful. Encrusted snow and ice in paw pads can cause them to bleed. Remember to wipe off any salt or snow chemicals used to melt ice as these can make your dog sick if he licks his paws with the chemicals on them. Also, exercise is just as important during the winter months, so hire a dog walker if you are traveling or working long hours.
Snowballs on fur: If you have a small or shorthaired dog, they may be more sensitive to the cold. In the cold wintry weather, try a coat or sweater on your pet—it might make them feel warmer! If your dog comes inside with snowballs hanging from his fur, use a warm washcloth to get them off. If you leave them in, they could mat up and cause skin irritation, so be sure to comb them out! Also, show your dog walker how to remove snowballs so they know what to do when you’re away from home.
Bathing: Dogs still need baths in the winter months, especially since they can develop skin irritations just like humans. Use a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner for your dog to keep him from excessive scratching and a dull coat. Never let your pet go outside in the cold temperatures with a wet coat; try using a hair dryer at a cool setting to help you dry the coat quicker.
Salt on the Driveway or Roads: If you salt your driveway, be sure it is “pet safe.” Regular salt is too harsh on your pet’s paws and can cause burning—signs of burning include redness, swelling, or your pet may lick or chew on his feet. If your pet goes on several walks a day, be sure to wipe your pet’s paws off before he comes in the house. If you have a dog walker, be sure to have them do this as well.
Car engines: One of the problems when the temperature drops is a tendency for outdoor cats to sleep under the hoods of cars. Bang on the hood of your car and wait a few minutes before starting the engine. A car’s fan belt can kill or injure a cat when the motor is started. On days that you know will be extremely cold, it might be a good idea to keep your cat inside!
Caring for a pet is a big responsibility and shouldn’t be taken lightly. You are responsible for making sure your pet maintains a healthy diet, gets plenty of exercise, receives regular vaccinations, and is groomed properly. So enjoy the holidays and remember to give your pet the warm, loving care they deserve this season!
Happy Holidays from Becky’s Pet Care.