While southeast Texas may not experience as brutally cold and snowy winters as, perhaps, Minnesota, the season can be rainy, and temperatures can reach uncomfortable levels, especially at night. This doesn’t mean that the winter season can’t be enjoyable, but you must consider your pet’s safety during this time. Read on for four tips on how to safely enjoy the colder months with your furry friend.
#1: Go for an outdoor excursion
Winter is a good time to explore the great outdoors in our region. With cooler temps, hiking, walking, or playing outside with your pet can be a welcoming, refreshing reprieve from the hot, sticky summer weather. Consider a few outdoor tips this winter:
- Put on a sweater — If your pet is sensitive to colder temperatures, consider outfitting her with a sweater or coat, but don’t rely on clothing to keep your pet warm for extended periods of time. If you decide to use pet clothing, ensure the items fit properly and aren’t too loose or too tight, with no dangling pieces that could become tangled. Also, ensure your pet can see, hear, breathe, and move easily.
- Protect feet with booties — If you will be visiting an area that may be icy, consider purchasing protective booties for your pet. Booties will not only help keep your pet warm and better able to grip slippery surfaces, but will also protect against harmful chemicals, such as salts or deicers, that may be on the ground. If booties aren’t an option for your furry friend, always rinse her paws after walking on wintry surfaces to get rid of any chemical residues, and regularly check for cracks or sores on her paw pads.
- Light your way — Whether you typically walk your pet in the morning or in the evening, the shorter days mean your daily walks may be in the dark. Ensure people see you by carrying an LED light, or fitting your pet with a light or a reflective collar and leash.
#2: Pet-proof the garage
If you regularly use winter chemicals, such as antifreeze or other deicing materials, ensure they are safely stowed away out of your pet’s reach. Antifreeze is a particularly dangerous chemical with a sweet scent and taste that is alluring to animals. Ethylene glycol, the potent antifreeze ingredient, is extremely poisonous, and small doses can cause acute kidney failure and death in dogs and cats. If possible, refrain from purchasing these chemicals, but if you must use an antifreeze, consider a brand that uses propylene glycol, which is less toxic to pets.
#3: Don’t hesitate to stay indoors
If outdoor conditions are too risky, or you simply don’t want to brave the wintry weather, consider a fun, indoor activity with your pet. Here are a few tips for indoor play:
- Find a pet-safe treat recipe to bake for your pet.
- Play hide-and-seek with a few of your pet’s favorite toys.
- If space allows, set up an indoor agility course in the home or garage.
- Find an indoor pet playground, and meet up with some other furry friends.
Keep in mind that some pets are not cut out for cold weather. Geriatric pets, puppies, and kittens cannot regulate their body temperature as efficiently as healthy adults, and you should limit their outdoor time when the temperatures drop.
#4: Get your pet microchipped
Microchipping involves the placement of a tiny, rice-sized chip under your pet’s skin. If she becomes lost, and her finder takes her to a shelter or veterinarian, she will be scanned for a microchip, which will house her owner’s contact information, and she can be returned home. Microchipping is a great idea at any time of the year, but especially in colder, darker conditions that are uncomfortable and potentially dangerous for lost pets.
We encourage our clients and pets to go outside and safely enjoy what winter has to offer in Conroe. If you have any questions about winter pet safety, or would like to set up an appointment for microchipping, don’t hesitate to contact us.