Cold and flu season has us more mindful of wanting to stay healthy in the midst of all the germs. While colds for pets are a little different than humans, pets do get sick and there are ways pet owners can help avoid illness. Whether you have a cat or a dog, live in an area with snow or rain, these tips can help you make smart decisions for your pet’s health.
Here are some reminders to help keep your pet healthy this winter:
Limit your pet’s time outdoors.
A good rule of thumb is that if it’s too cold for you to be outside for any amount of time, then it’s also too cold for your pet. If your pet must be outside in the cold be sure to provide them adequate shelter (a place that is dry and warm) and blocks them from weather conditions. If temperatures are low then the inside of your home is the best place for your pet. A pet’s fur coat can only do so much when it’s cold outside.
Keep your pet hydrated.
The air both inside and outside homes becomes drier in the winter months so be sure to provide your pet with plenty of fresh water so they stay hydrated (don’t let the water get too cold) and keep an eye out for skin conditions. Visit a veterinarian if your pet starts having flaky skin or if their coat appears overly oily.
Is your pet vaccinated?
Make sure your pet is up-to-date on all vaccines and consider a canine flu vaccine for your dog. Pets exposed to other pets are at risk for contracting a virus if the other pet is sick. A vaccine is a simple way to prevent avoidable illness.
Keep your pet active.
A short walk on a brisk morning, teaching new tricks or finding safe ways to play inside is important to keeping your pet healthy. If you plan to go for a walk outside me mindful of salt or other chemicals your pet could come in contact with. Consider putting booties on their paws for protection.
Small pets may need to wear a sweater to keep them warm.
Adapt your pet’s diet.
Due to changes in activity levels a change in your pet’s diet may be in order. For example, if you normally give your pet cold food, warm it up in the winter so their bodies don’t have to use extra energy to do it. And if your pet is less active, less food might be recommended. We always recommend speaking to a veterinarian before making changes in your pet’s diet.
Keep sick pets separate from healthy pets.
If you have a sick pet at home they should be kept separate from healthy pets until they become healthy again.
tale care of their paws.
Dogs in snowy areas can be exposed to salt, ice, and toxic chemicals when they go outside and can affect their paws. Do your best to wipe down their paws each time they have been outside.
Give extra care to elderly pets as the colder temperatures can make arthritis and other physical conditions harder on them.