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reading by the water

5 Winter Health Tips for Your Pets

Posted by: Mira Roberts
Dog named Duke

As winter approaches in Coastal Virginia, it's important to start thinking about cold and extreme weather conditions that may affect our lifestyle and the lifestyle of our beloved pets. Dogs who love to go on long walks or get extra play time at the Bark Park, or indoor cats who like to explore your cupboards and cabinets can face new risks as the seasons change.

Taking preventative steps now to keep your pets safe throughout the cold weather months will help your entire family to enjoy another brisk and beautiful season in Hampton, VA. When temperatures dip below freezing, you'll want to pay attention to how much time you spend outside with your four-legged best friend. When you do venture out, it may be necessary to place a sweater or jacket on small or short-haired pups to keep them from getting too cold. Even simple steps like shying away from icy or salted sidewalks can help to protect your pup's paws, and keeping antifreeze and other cold weather chemicals and products out of reach will help to keep your cats and dogs from ingesting harmful poison that can be dangerous to their health and well-being.

Keep your pets feeling warm, cozy and comfortable all season long with these 5 basic winter health tips for pets.

Skin and Paws Matter
During the cold, dry winter months, your pups skin can become dry and itchy. Try using a humidifier to keep your apartment from becoming too dry during especially cold spells. Bathe your pet less often during the winter months, and after long walks, use a towel to completely wipe down any snow, water, salt or salt-drying chemicals. It is almost important to make sure your pet is drinking enough fresh water throughout the winter months to ensure that he or she stays properly hydrated.

Winter Coats
We know it may seem outrageous, but if your pup is short-haired or small in size, a winter coat or sweater is in order. Just as it can be too cold for you to be outdoors without appropriate layers and warmth, the same goes for your dog. You can pick up dog coats or jackets at your nearby Target or pet supply store, and your pup will thank you for keeping him cozy and warm during his daily romps in the winter snow.

Watch for Antifreeze
Antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats, and can be even more dangerous to pets because it has a sweet smell that can attract animals to it, no matter where you store it. Make sure to keep anti-freeze or other chemicals and products stored in a locked space that is out of reach of pets, and watch for spills while outdoors on long walks. 

 Consider Increasing Food
During the winter months, your pet will burn extra energy trying to stay warm. Increasing their food intake by a small amount may help them to meet their necessary caloric intake and keep their energy up. Make sure to consult your veterinarian before you make dramatic changes to your pet's food consumption, and make sure that your pet continues to get his daily exercise in to prevent over-feeding.

Use Discretion
If it's simply too cold outside for you, then it's probably too cold outside for your pup. It can be difficult to keep a young dog indoors all day, but when conditions become extreme, it's the best way to keep them safe and comfortable. When snowstorms strike or temperatures dip well below freezing, limit your pet's time outdoors and find ways to play and snuggle up indoors, instead. 

About the Author
Mira Roberts Gravatar
Mira Roberts

Mira Roberts studied writing at New York University, graduating with a BA in English Literature before pursuing a career in media, marketing and management with PARADE Magazine, Portfolio Magazine, AltDaily, skirt! and lululemon athletica. A full time mother, writing instructor and part-time freelance writer, Mira lives and laughs with her family in Norfolk, VA. 


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