How To Help Your Pet Adapt To Colder Temperatures

The snowy season is upon us, whether you’re ready or not. From clothing to accessories and heating devices, FreshPet Vet, Dr. Aziza shares the top tricks to help your pet transition into the colder seasons. 


So how does cold affect pets?

The holidays are approaching which also means snow and cold weather. Now I won’t lie, this is my absolute favourite time of the year, but it does cause re-emerging problems to arise. Even if your pet has a thick, heavy coat, they still may feel chilly in the winter. Cold weather can affect your cat or dog in many ways:

  • Swollen, cracked paws: Weather plus other factors that come with it, like salt, can cause cracking and swelling in the pads. This can of course lead to an infection because they might lick it to ease the pain. 
  • Osteoarthritis: Just like humans, pets can develop arthritis. This is typically seen in older pets but it can develop at any age. Cold weather can worsen arthritis, which can cause your pet to have a hard time jumping, walking, sitting, or standing. This can also can restlessness when trying to sleep.
  • Weight gain: Colder weather tends to prevent usual exercise for pets, such as walks. If a pet is exercising less and maintaining the same caloric intake, then they will most likely gain weight. This can worsen other issues and illnesses.


How can we help them?

There are multiple things we can do and products we can use that easily help our furiends adjust to colder temperatures. Let us share some tips with you so your fam can stay safe and cozy for the holidays:


1. Dress them warmly

Normally smaller dogs or dogs with shorter hair need extra help when theres a chill. Puppies, kittens and seniors may also find it hard to control their body heat. 

A nice sweater or coat is a great addition to your pets outside apparel in the colder months, it will make them a whole lot more comfortable.

If you feel that it is so cold you need to cover their head, it might be best to stay inside for the time being.

Dog in jacket running through snow

2. Limit Time Outdoors

No dog or cat is meant to spend a large amount of time outside in the winter. A thick coat may help a bit but it does not protect everything. 

"Their ears are exposed, their paws are in direct contact with cold cement, their nose is sticking out there in the wind," says K.C. Theisen, director of pet care issues at the Humane Society of the United States. Never leave them outside unattended, and only take them outside of they are going to be active. Even then, you may need to shorten the length of the walk if it is really cold.

3. Wipe down their paws or put boots on

Ice, snow, salt and toxic chemicals such as antifreeze and de-icers can build up on your pals paws. If they then lick them, they could swallow the poisons. Some of them even taste sweet, but the effects are deadly.

Make sure that after a walk or letting your pet outside, you wipe down their feet with a towel. Also check the paw pads for injuries regularly as ice and salt can cause painful cracks and bleeding.

An alternative to this routine is pet boots, which will certainly keep them cozier while also protecting their paws. We recommend the ones pictured below from Pet Benefit. They are stylish, warm and will protect your baby from the cold or harsh chemicals! Remember to still check for any wounds if you choose to use these! You should also keep up with trimming the hair around the pads of their feet to prevent ice buildup, check out our favourite tool to do that HERE!

Dog boots

4. Make sure they have a cozy bed

Winter beds with lots of warm blankets will help your pet out tremendously in the colder months. Allow them to have a place where they can snuggle up if they get chilly, maybe add their favourite toys for a distraction.

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