Winter is a hard fact of life here in Minnesota. Sometimes we get lucky and the winters are mild, but no matter what happens it will get cold and it will snow. Here are a few tips to help you take good care of your pets this winter.
- WALKING OUTSIDE -Most dogs can tolerate a short walk in the winter months, but be very careful with the smaller and elderly dogs as they are not as well prepared for the cold weather. If they tolerate wearing a coat, it can be a huge help. Booties are a great idea and can keep the snow and the salting chemicals from damaging your dog’s paws. If your dog is not a fan of booties a good product to use during these winter months is Mushers Secret. It’s a natural wax product that you can use on your dog’s paws to protect them from the harsh conditions.
- THE DARK – As winters sets in and our days grow shorter, we spend a lot more time outside in the dark. You want to make sure that you and your dog can be seen by others – Stunt Puppy has a great line of reflective leashes and collars (stuntpuppy.com). Another great idea is blinking lights, you can buy a few and place them on you and your dog. Fidos Pantry carries a full line of Glowdoggie collars, these are easy to use and can really help you locate your dog at night in the backyard.
- DRYNESS – The furnace is on and it gets dry in our homes during the winter months, a condition that can cause skin problems for our pets. To help your pet’s dry skin add some fish oil or flax oil to their diet. Maybe add some canned food to your pets diet; most dry pet foods are lacking in fatty acids and oils as those are eliminated by the over processing of the food. Always make sure your pets have ample access to fresh and clean water and are keeping hydrated.
- EXERCISE – It’s important to keep our pets active during the long winter months. Play games with your cats (see previous blog) and dog. It’s a great time to sign up for a training class or just work on some existing obedience training. Remember the mental stimulation is just as important as the actual exercise.
- HEATING DEVICES – Be super careful when using a space heater around pets. Never leave a heater unattended where a pet can access it. Pets also love to lay next to a wood burning fireplace, so be extra careful; fireplace screens are a must.
Winter in Minnesota can be cold and long, but it can also be beautiful and fun, so enjoy some time with your pet and remember to be safe.