SPRINGFIELD, Mo- With a wintry mix and a cold blast to follow, this type of weather may be harmful to us but it can also be harmful to your pets.
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) exposure to dry, cold air and chilly rain, sleet and snow can cause chapped paws and itchy, flaking skin.
Here are some tips to help your pets stay comfortable this winter:
- Keep your home humidified and towel dry your pet as soon as they come inside, remove any snowballs from between footpads.
- Don’t shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth.
- If your dog is long-haired, simply trim their hair to minimize the clinging ice balls that can dry their skin.
- If your dog is short-haired, consider buying a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly. For many dogs, this is regulation winter wear.
- Bring a towel on long walks to clean off stinging, irritated paws.
- Bathe your pets as little as possible during cold weather. Washing too often can remove essential oils and increase the chance of developing dry, flaky skin.
- Massaging petroleum jelly or other paw protectants into paw pads before going outside can help protect from salt and chemical agents.
- Booties provide even more coverage and can also prevent sand and salt from getting lodged between bare toes and causing irritation. Use pet-friendly ice melts whenever possible.
- Pets burn extra energy trying to stay warm, feeding your pet a little bit more during cold weather months can provide much-needed calories.
ASPCA says to remember, if it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet, so keep your animals inside. If left outdoors, pets can freeze, become disoriented, lost, stolen, injured or killed. In addition, don’t leave pets alone in a car during cold weather, as cars can act as refrigerators that hold in the cold and cause animals to freeze to death.