Winterizing your pets

01 06 by Nino Gibney

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Winter is my favorite season, right after summer, spring and fall.  The colder months have a special beauty and fun, but they can also have particular health concerns for your pets.  Luckily, the rules for pet health are pretty similar to watching out for your own health.  Except maybe putting things we find on the ground in our mouths.  We might be alone in that.

          1.  Stay comfortable-If you feel cold, your pets probably feel cold.  Sure, we have that layer of fur, but snow, ice and freezing temperatures are still uncomfortable for cats and dogs.  Limit the time your pets spend in freezing temperatures to  avoid frostbite.  Your dog might love playing in the snow, but temperature extremes, hot or cold, can be as harmful for us as they are for you.

2.      2.  Watch what your pets are eating or stepping in-The big culprit here is anti-freeze.  Anti-freeze has a deceptively sweet taste to pets, so clean up spills and safely dispose of open containers.  Also, give your pet a good wipe down after time outside to get salt and deicer off before they can irritate the skin.

3.       3.  Food and water-If your pet is spending long hours outside, make sure that they have extra food and water that isn’t frozen.  Also, be careful of metal water bowls.  No need for a repeat of that triple dog dare flag pole licking scene in “A Christmas Story”.

4.       4.  Above and beyond-Many stray cats and dogs struggle through the winter.  Make things easier for them by building a winter shelter.  Shelters are inexpensive, easy to build and the internet is chock full of simple DIY instructions to get you started.