Winter Pet Care in Lincoln, NE – 2018
You may be in denial about the abrupt end of summer, but if you have a pet, you can’t ignore the impending change of the seasons. Dogs and cats, just like people, have different tolerance levels for the cold. It can vary from pet to pet based on their coat, body fat stores, activity level, and health. Short-coated, thin, elderly, or very young dogs get cold easier. So, if you have more than one dog, don’t treat them all the same if they are, in fact, different. Make special adjustments based on each dog’s specific limits.
Now is the time to make the necessary arrangements to keep your furry friend happy and healthy this winter. In order to educate you on just how to go about this, we talked to some local experts.
“An important thing to keep in mind is correct feeding in cold weather,” notes Kelly Donnel with Pet Central Station.
“Although dogs may need an extra layer to protect them from the cold temperatures, make sure it comes from a coat and not a layer of fat. Cold temperatures may even bring on lazy behavior and the need for fewer calories, especially when you’re caring for an indoor pet. If you have an outdoor dog, there’s a need for more calories in the winter. This allows their body to produce enough body heat.
Be attentive to your dog’s activity level and adjust calories accordingly. A high quality, whole foods, preferably raw meat based diet will help ensure a healthy coat and good energy for the cold winter months.
Making the right choices regarding your pet’s diet is the single most effective way to prolong and improve their life. By being conscious of important factors like your pet’s age, medical issues, the brand of food they are currently eating, and any special dietary restrictions or sensitivities to which your pet may be prone, you have all the information you need to provide your pet with the most nutritious and healthy diet. In winter, I recommend food that contains fish oils. Adding more Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids to your dog’s diet in the winter can help protect them from any potential weather-related irritations to their skin and paws.”
Kelly also shared that the biggest concern she hears from customers is how to take care of their pets’ paws. Dogs can suffer from cracked pads. Here are some tips for prevention:
1. If your dog has furry feet, trim the hair that grows between her pads to prevent ice buildup between the pads. Pet Central Station has professional groomers that can remove that pesky hair.
2. Salt on sidewalks can burn your dog’s pads and is toxic, so after walks around the neighborhood, rinse or wipe your dog’s paws to remove any salt – you don’t want her licking it off. Pet Central Station offers Safe Paw Ice Melter which is non-toxic, pet safe salt for the sidewalks around your home.
3. If your dog shows signs of discomfort when walking outside on frozen or salted surfaces, consider using dog booties to protect their paws. Pet Central Station has booties in several sizes and we will be happy to help you get a good fit for your dog.
4. Your dogs paws needs protection from the environment, road salt, cold, and hot weather. Pet Central Station offers K9 Granola Factory Soft Paw to soothe rough, dry skin and cracked paw pads. It may also be applied to hot spots, noses, elbows, cuts, and insect bites.
Hypothermia and frostbite pose major risks to dogs in winter, as well. If your dog enjoys being outdoors, consider outfitting him or her with a sweater or coat to keep them warm. Ideally, pets should live inside during the winter months. Even if your dogs or cats primarily live outdoors, bring them inside during sub-zero temperatures. For the rest of the winter, make sure they have adequate shelter. A good shelter is a dry, draft-free, and large enough to allow them to sit and lay down comfortably, yet small enough to conserve body heat. A general rule of thumb is to always build the ceiling at least two to three inches taller than the height of your dog when he or she is sitting up. Consider raising the floor a few inches off the ground and covering the floor with cedar shavings or straw. Also, if the temperatures are low enough, your pets’ tongue can stick to metal, so opt for plastic food and water bowls.
With all the elements of winter—snow, snowmelt, sleet, fast winds—your furry friend will likely get dirty more frequently, which mean more trips to the groomer.
“Pet Central Station has assembled Lincoln’s largest location for self-service dog washing,” Kelly comments. “Using only top-of-the-line tubs, tools, and washing products, our store is built by dog lovers to make your pet’s experience a positive one. There are also things you can do at home to keep up with your pet’s grooming needs. Make brushing a priority during the winter months, especially if your dog has long or thick hair. Snow can create mats and bad tangles. Getting your dog’s hair trimmed can also help avoid this. If you normally brush your dog weekly, you might want to increase the frequency to twice a week when there’s snow on the ground.”
As previously mentioned, it’s important to pay attention to your pet’s activity levels throughout the winter. Your pet isn’t the only one susceptible to laziness this time of year! You need to provide your pet with alternative forms of exercise when the temperatures are unbearable. Consider signing your pup up for a class where he or she can interact with other dogs and get plenty of attention.
“Our facility is equipped with a large indoor play yard so that dogs can still have space to run around when there is snow on the ground outside,” informs Garrett Brehm with WOOF! Dog Care Center. “We also offer enrichment with toys and agility equipment to ensure all of the pups in our care for the day have a fun and active visit. During inclement weather, we have Doggie Daycare playtimes inside to avoid exposure to the extreme elements.”
In addition, with more families traveling this time of year for the holidays, the overnight boarding services offered at WOOF! are very popular. Catering to dogs of all shapes, sizes, and breeds, WOOF! offers two types of spacious suites featuring stainless steel food and water dishes, and specialized rubber epoxy flooring helps to protect paws and reduce strain on joints.
Their Luxury VIP (Very Important Pup) Suites include raised beds, warm fleece blankets, first-out, last-in potty privileges, nightly bedtime snacks and treats, and longer play times. The most attractive part of WOOF! is the safety measures they took when building their facility was built.
“We have a hospital-grade ventilation systems that removes 100% of allergens, pathogens, and carcinogens from the air ensuring your dog will be breathing highly purified air,” adds Garrett. “We also feature 24/7 video monitoring of the entire property, and a state-of-the-art security system safeguards and protects your dog during their stay.”
When you take your holiday vacation, make sure your pup takes one too at WOOF!
If you have any trouble keeping up with your pet, whether it’s due to illness or old age, don’t be afraid to ask for help. No one expects you to give up your animal friend(s), but if you can’t take care of them on your own, make sure you have another person who can come in and do the necessary tasks to keep your pet safe and healthy.
“We understand that the word ‘pet’ simply does not properly describe our beloved furry (sometimes not-so-furry) family members,” says Heather Linderman at Graceful In Home Healthcare.
“As part of our mission to treat others as we would expect to be treated, we know that these members of the household are family too and they should be honored as such.
If you or your loved one has a difficult time getting a pet its proper exercise, supplies, or vet visits when the weather changes drastically, we are here to help. Part of Graceful In Home Healthcare’s services for our clients with pets include pet care such as feeding, washing, walking, playing, or providing the owner transportation to the store, pet parks, or even the veterinarian office.
Graceful In Home Healthcare offers personality matching of staff to clients so you and your loved ones can rest assured that our caregivers will not only serve you with peace, love, and dignity, but we will do the same for your furry/chirping/wet-finned/scaled family members too.”
Caring for your furry friends in the winter time will require some thought and preparation. If you don’t want the upcoming months to be ruff for your pet, start looking into the resources here in Lincoln right meow—and don’t hesitate to reach out to the professionals! Your beloved pet will thank you fur it later.