Protecting Your Pets from the Winter Weather
Bitter cold, it’s something us Montanans know all too well. Winter has come early this year in Montana. Not only do humans feel the pain of bitterly cold weather in the winter, but our pets do too! The Montana winter is a long season of icy chill and numbing winds. Make sure your four-footed family members stay safe and warm by following these simple cold weather pet safety guidelines.
Pets Need Coats Too
Some dog breeds are born ready for winter with a thick coat of fur, but pets with thin fur will need a dog sweater or coat when outside or going on walks. A good coat should reach from the neck to the base of the tail and protect the belly. Coats will not prevent frostbite on the ears, feet or tail so even with an extra cozy layer, don’t keep a short-haired dog outside too long in freezing temperatures.
At Fetch, we carry a large variety of winter coats including the Hurrta Expedition Parka. The Expedition Parka is an excellent choice in cold weather. The coat is both water and windproof. It has been especially developed for short-haired dogs and dogs without an undercoat, but in cold conditions it is suitable for all other dogs as well. Both the neck and back are adjustable, and it comes in a large range of sizes, allowing for that perfect fit.
Warm Pets are Happy Pets
Don’t leave pets outdoors alone when the temperature drops. A good rule of thumb is to go out with them, and when you’re ready to come in, they probably will be, too.
In addition to limiting your dog’s time outdoors on cold days, don’t let your pup sleep on a cold floor in winter. Place your dog’s bed in a warm spot away from drafts, cold tile or uncarpeted floors, preferably in a favorite spot where he sleeps every day so that the area doesn’t feel unfamiliar.
Dry and cold weather does a number on human skin and can have the same effect on your pet's skin. Just as we moisturize more every winter, you can help prevent dry, flaky skin by adding a skin and coat supplements to your pet's food. Fish oils are easy to add and can help keep your pet’s skin and coat healthy.
At Fetch, we carry Ocean Supreme Fish Oil from Iceland, the cleanest and most sustainable fishery on the planet. Ocean Omega Supreme is made using multiple species of fish (anchovies, sardines, mackerels and jacks) to further minimize impact upon any single species. It’s great for a healthy skin and coat, healthy nervous and circulatory systems, and a strong immune system. It’s fortified with natural Vitamin E. It contains higher in Omega 3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) than other fish oils.
Although dogs may need an extra layer in winter, make sure it comes from a coat and not a layer of fat. Be attentive to your dog’s activity level and adjust calories accordingly.
Paw Care is a Must
Just as we tend to develop foot cracks in winter, dogs can also suffer from cracked pads. After walks, be sure to thoroughly wash pets' feet and stomach to remove ice, salt, and chemicals. Check for cracks in paw pads or redness between toes and consider pet boots if your dog shows any signs of discomfort while walking outside. Use pet safe ice melts whenever possible!
At Fetch, we carry Montana Mutt Paw Balm and Natural Dog Company Paw Soother. Both are formulated to heal rough, chapped, dry dog paw pads. We also carry a variety of boots from Ruffwear and Muttluks.
Special Care of Seniors
Seven years old is considered senior in many dog breeds. Cold weather will often aggravate existing medical conditions, particularly arthritis. Maintain an exercise regimen with your arthritic dog and consider adding a hip and joint supplement to keep them happy and healthy during winter months. Additionally, senior dogs aren’t able to regulate their body temperature as well, making a warm coat a must during the cold months.
Remember, if it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet, so keep your animals inside during harsh winter weather! Protect pets this winter and show them extra love throughout the winter months.
Source: Pet Food Monthly, Pacific Northwest, October 2019