(WWTI) — As the temperature drops lower and lower residents are being reminded that their pets are also affected by the cold.
To help owners navigate the cool temperatures with their pet, the ASPCA released several cold weather safety tips. The organization warned that the cold air, and chilly rain and snow can cause chapped paws and itchy, flaking skin. The ASPCA also pointed out how ice-melting agents and the chemicals they use can be dangerous for pets.
According to the organization’s website, repeatedly coming out of the cold and into the dry heat of a home can cause itchy, flaky skin. To combat the issue owners are advised to keep their home humidified and towel dry pets as soon as they are back indoors. They are also encoruaged to pay extra attention to their pet’s feet and in between their toes, specifically removing any snow balls from between foot pads.
Owners were also warned to never shave their animals down to skin in the winter since longer coats on animals can provide them with more warmth. However, long-haired animals should be trimmed to avoid clinging ice balls, salt crystals and de-icing chemicals that can dry their skin. Owners are also encouraged to consider a coat or sweater for their short-haired animals.
The ASPCA also advised residents to bathe their pets as little as possible to avoid irritating the skin. Owners should bring a towel on long walks to clean off stinging, irritated paws. Additionally, owners should wash and dry ytheir pet’s feet and stomach to remove ice, salt and chemicals after each walk.
To help avoid damaging pet’s paws owners can massage petroleum jelly or other paw protectants into paw pads before going outside. Booties are also an option that provides even more coverage and can also prevent sand and salt from getting lodged between bare toes and causing irritation.
Another preparation that can be made is feeding pets a little extra during the winter months to provide the needed calories and water to avoid dehydration. The ASPCA also reminded residents that “if it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet, so keep your animals inside.” More can be found on the ASPCA website.