The winter season is finally here! Although we haven’t been hit with any snowstorms yet in NYC, it’s always a good idea to prepare your pet for the elements. Keep in mind that the tips below are general guidelines. Pets’ cold tolerance can vary based on coat, body fat, activity level, age, and health. Be aware of your pet’s tolerance for cold weather, and adjust accordingly. If you need help determining your pet’s temperature limits, talk to your pet’s veterinarian at Gotham Veterinary Center.
Beware of Salt and Ice
Rock salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice can irritate your pet’s feet and skin. If your dog has sensitive paws, bring a towel along on your walk and wipe off his feet whenever he becomes uncomfortable. When you return from you walk, wipe off all paws and exposed areas with a damp towel and remove any wet clothing.
Paw Protective Wax
Ice and salt can cause pain and discomfort for your dog. Check your dog’s paws frequently for injury or damage, such as cracked paw pads or bleeding. Reduce accumulation of ice balls by trimming the hair between your pet’s toes. Paw Wax also helps promote healthy paws and provides a protective shield against salt an ice. Dr. Bonnie brown recommends Heal My Paws, available at Gotham Veterinary Center.
Another way to protect your dog’s feet is to use booties. They come in a range of styles, from soft padded booties to flexible rubber ones.
Some people think it’s silly or embarrassing to dress their pets, but in the winter it can be necessary. Dogs that are small, short-haired, or low to the ground are much more susceptible to the cold, so it’s a good idea to invest in a warm coat for your pet. Look for something with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly. It can be as flashy or as simple as you want it to be!
Stray cats often climb onto vehicle tires and engines, seeking warmth during cold weather. Severe, sometimes fatal injury can result from a cat being struck by a moving fan belt. To protect any strays, be sure to knock on the hood, and check under the hood and on car tires before starting your vehicle. You can also honk the horn to startle any pets that may have sought shelter underneath your vehicle.