Dog Paws & Cat Coats: Winter Pet Care Tips

Dog Paws & Cat Coats: Winter Pet Care Tips

Winter brings a unique set of challenges for pets. Unlike humans, pets do not have the luxury of adding layers of clothing to combat the cold. Certain breeds, especially those with short coats, are more susceptible to colder temperatures. It’s vital to understand how low temperatures, wet conditions, and decreased daylight affect your pet’s health and behavior. If you notice any concerning changes, don’t hesitate to contact Schertz Animal Hospital at (210) 659-0345 for advice or to schedule an appointment.




Signs of Discomfort in Cold Weather

  • Shivering or trembling
  • Reluctance to go outside
  • Changes in behavior or activity level
  • Whining or barking
  • Hunched posture with tucked tail
  • Lifting paws off the ground
  • Seeking shelter or warm places
  • Slowing down or stiffness

Outdoor Safety and Indoor Comfort

Outdoor Precautions

When it comes to outdoor activities, it’s crucial to limit the exposure of your pets to extreme cold. Short, supervised trips outside are best for bathroom breaks and quick exercise. Always check their paws for signs of injury or ice accumulation. Pet-safe ice melts are a safer option for your walkways and driveways to prevent irritation to your pet’s paws.

Indoor Comfort

Inside your home, provide a warm, cozy spot away from drafts for your pet to rest. Older pets and those with arthritis may benefit from orthopedic beds or heated pads. Remember, our team at Schertz Animal Hospital is always here to offer guidance on the best indoor care for your pet. Feel free to call us at (210) 659-0345 with any questions.

Nutrition and Hydration – Winter Essentials

While some pets may require more calories in the winter to maintain their body heat, others might be less active and prone to weight gain. Monitor your pet’s food intake and adjust as needed. Also, ensure they have access to fresh, unfrozen water at all times. Dehydration is just as much a risk in winter as it is in summer. Consult with us at Schertz Animal Hospital to determine the best diet for your pet during the colder months. Our team can provide tailored advice based on your pet’s age, breed, and health condition.

Winter Grooming and Skin Care

The dry winter air can cause skin irritation and flakiness in pets. Maintain a regular grooming schedule to help their coat stay healthy and provide insulation. Be mindful of bathing frequency, as over-bathing can strip essential oils from their skin, leading to dryness and irritation. Pet clothing is another more fashionable way to provide your pet with an extra layer of warmth during the winter months.

Caring for Sensitive Paw Pads

The cold winter months can be tough on your dog’s paws. Exposure to cold temperatures, ice, snow, and even de-icing agents can lead to dry, cracked, or sore paws. Here are some essential tips to keep your dog’s paws healthy and protected during winter.

  • Keep Paws Clean and Dry: After each walk, it’s important to wipe your dog’s paws. This helps remove any de-icing chemicals, salt, or ice particles that could cause irritation or be ingested during licking. Use a damp cloth to clean between the toes and under the paw pads.
  • Trim Paw Hair: Long hair between the toes can trap ice, snow, and de-icing salts. Keep the hair trimmed to prevent build-up and reduce the risk of ice balls forming, which can be painful and lead to frostbite.
  • Use Dog Booties: Dog booties are a great way to protect your dog’s paws from cold surfaces, salt, and chemical de-icers. They can take some getting used to, so introduce them gradually and ensure they fit snugly without restricting circulation.
  • Moisturize Paw Pads: Just like human skin, a dog’s paw pads can become dry and cracked in cold weather. Use a pet-safe paw balm or moisturizer to keep their pads supple and prevent cracking. Avoid human lotions, as they may soften pads too much and lead to injuries.
  • Check for Cracks and Injuries: Regularly inspect your dog’s paws for signs of injury, such as cracks, cuts, or redness between the toes. If you find any injuries, clean them gently and contact Schertz Animal Hospital for advice.

Cold Weather Hazards to Avoid

Toxic Substances

Antifreeze is a common winter hazard. Its sweet taste can be tempting to pets, but it’s extremely toxic. Store it out of reach and clean up spills immediately. Likewise, rodenticides are more common in the colder months and can be lethal. Keep them away from your pets and monitor your pet’s outdoor environment for potential dangers.

Holiday Decorations

Keep holiday decorations and plants like poinsettias, mistletoe, and holly out of your pet’s reach as they can be toxic. Secure electrical cords from holiday lights to prevent chewing and electrocution risks.

Preparing for Emergencies

Winter weather can be unpredictable. Have an emergency kit ready for your pet, including food, water, medications, and comfort items. Plan ahead for potential power outages or being snowed in. Know where your pet’s essentials are and have a strategy for their care during these times. Keep the contact information for Schertz Animal Hospital and an emergency vet clinic handy in case of unexpected situations. Our number is (210) 659-0345 – feel free to call us for any emergency preparations or advice.

Schertz Animal Hospital: Your Partner in Winter Pet Care

In this season of frost and festivities, taking extra care of your pet is paramount. By following these winter care tips, you can ensure your pet stays safe, healthy, and comfortable. For any concerns or to schedule a check-up, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Schertz Animal Hospital. Our dedicated team is here to assist with all your pet care needs. Call us at (210) 659-0345 for an appointment or more information. Stay warm and safe this winter!

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Schertz Animal Hospital

Since 1976, Schertz Animal Hospital has offered the greater San Antonio area outstanding pet care. Our state-of-the-art animal hospital in Schertz, TX compliments our stress-free handling and experienced veterinary staff. Make an appointment online or give us a call at (210) 659-0345 today!