Winter cold and snow can be a problem for your pets, even those that are accustomed to winter chill. But when you travel with pets that are not winterized, you need to prepare in advance. These tips will help you protect your beloved pet from the elements and keep him safe, comfortable and happy.
- Never leave your dog outside in the cold without supervision. This is especially true for short-haired dogs, puppies or old dogs. Cats are also very sensitive to cold and need to be indoors where it's warm (of course, I believe cats should never be outdoors unsupervised).
- If you are traveling by car, be sure to pack plenty of extra blankets. In case of an emergency, you and your pets will be able to stay warm until help arrives.
- Never leave your dog alone in a cold car for extended periods of time. Letting your dog shiver and feel like he's freezing for hours on end is cruel and abusive.
- You might want to get your short-coated dog a sweater to wear during walks or in the house if you keep that thermostat set low. People use Snuggies and sweaters. Why shouldn't Fido?
- Some people find that their pets need more food in the winter, probably because keeping their bodies warm requires more energy. But be sure not to over feed them.
- Be careful when you are walking your pet around areas that have been treated with salt or other chemicals to help melt snow and ice. That stuff can irritate the pads of their feet. Worse, if they ingest it, it's downright harmful. You can buy chemicals that are pet friendly to melt the ice if you need them.
- If you must leave your dog outside for long periods of time, make sure he has dry, draft-free shelter. It should be large enough so that he can lay down and sit in a comfortable position, but not too much larger. The smaller space will hold the dog's body heat better. Be sure to raise the floor a few inches off the ground, and turn the shelter away from the wind. A dog-house with some type of doggy-door is best - even if it's only plastic or burlap.
Bringing your pets with you on a cold weather holiday can be fun for everyone, as long as you prepare properly before traveling with pets.