Winter Pet Care
As winter sets in, we automatically change our habits out of necessity, bundling up in sweaters and thick socks and turning up the heat. Our pets may not be able to communicate it to us, but they have many of the same needs to adjust for cold conditions as we do. They depend on us to take necessary steps to protect and care for them.
Exposure to the cold can cause chapped paws and dry, flaky skin for pets, which also causes itching. Going out into the cold and coming back inside repeatedly can exacerbate dry skin due to rising and dropping temperatures and the evaporation of moisture on the skin. Simple acts like towel-drying your pet when going inside can make a great difference in helping your pet stay comfortable and healthy. Also bathing your pet a little less frequently during cold months can help their skin to dry out less.
If you plan to be outside with your pet on a cold day for an extended period of time, take a towel with you to wipe down your pet’s coat and paws from time to time to prevent ice from forming. Also consider allowing your pet’s hair to grow a little longer during the winter months to provide extra warmth, like a natural sweater.
Something else to remember is that it requires energy to stay warm, so keep this in mind as you feed your pet each day. Giving your pet a little more food than usual can help them store just enough extra fat to help protect them from the cold.
To get more ideas on how to care for pets in cold conditions, we spoke to pet lovers and experts in the community who shared helpful information on providing premium care for pets during the winter months.
Dian Quist, manager of Kenl Inn, shared her knowledge on caring for dry winter skin for pets.
“Dogs and cats get dry skin in the winter months just like we do,” she said. “We offer medicated shampoo and conditioner which soothes dry skin and moisturizes the coat. The microbubble is a gentle and shampoo-free bathing option for pets with sensitive or dry skin. We offer a paw treatment to help with cracked or dry pads. We also sell nose balm to soothe and prevent dryness.
Keeping hair trimmed is also important. Some people want to keep their pet’s hair longer during the winter. Remember that longer hair requires more maintenance. Frequent appointments are necessary to prevent matting and keep the face and feet neat and tidy. Sweaters and jackets can cause matting in armpits and around the neck, so focus on brushing those areas after walks. It’s the season to snuggle on the couch with your pet and you’ll be much happier if they’ve been freshly groomed! Last of all, remember regular nail trims, as short nails provide better traction in slick weather. With use of our Kenl Inn mobile app, your sixth of five nail trims is free!”
Kenl Inn offers great activities and services to help restless dogs during the winter.
“Surprisingly, our nature hikes are very popular during the winter months,” Dian said. “After all, it is a beautiful trail and the dogs enjoy the crisp air and smells. We do nature hikes rain or shine, ice or snow, so we watch the dogs’ feet and general physical condition, making sure they are not getting too cold. Some owners will bring their paw booties and sweaters for the hikes.
Our play groups are also popular all year round. Most dogs are active enough to keep warm themselves and our play groups have the luxury of coming inside when the temperature is too severe. Again, booties and sweaters help keep the dogs warm in the winter (we actually have a ‘closet’ of sweaters that we can put on a dog if needed) and we provide careful watch of the dogs so they are not getting too cold or snow/ice isn’t collecting in their foot pads.”
Dian recommends training your dog during the winter months to provide activity and stimulation at a time when your dog might otherwise be cooped up inside.
“The winter months can be the perfect time to train your dog,” she said. “Sometimes our dogs get ‘cabin fever,’ and spending time training your dog can help relieve some of those unwanted disasters that happen when dogs have to think up activities on their own.”
Dave Titterington, owner of Arnie’s Pet Food Store, offered great insight and advice on winter pet care:
“Winter in the Great Plains brings plenty of snow and some of the coldest temperatures in the United States,” Dave said. “We add layers of clothing under heavy jackets and put on gloves and caps. But what about our canine companions? That fur, undercoat, and exposed paws only provide protection against the cold, not against freezing temperatures.
Know your dog’s cold weather limits. Take shorter walks. Limit outdoor time for your dog. Wipe their paws after outdoor activity. Keep them leashed as cold weather inhibits their sense of smell to find their way home. Make sure your pet’s tags on their collar are up to date. Avoid frozen ponds and creeks as they can be dangerous. Keep pets indoors in cold weather or provide adequate shelter, bedding, and water if your dog is kept outdoors. Do not leave pets in a car. Keep antifreeze away from dogs, as it’s highly toxic. Increase your pet’s food consumption in winter or provide a higher protein diet, preferably meat based.
Indoors, provide a warm place for your dog. Cold air does not support moisture and is hard on our skin as well as our pets’. Arnie’s Pet Food Store offers Ultra Oil with Omega 3, 6, and 9 to eliminate your dog’s dry, flaky skin and reduce itching. Samples of Ultra Oil are available at Arnie’s. Within a week, you will notice the difference in their skin and their smooth shiny coat. Ultra Oil is a good daily supplement that dogs love added to their food, and it provides many nutritional and health benefits.
And finally, be sure to check under the hood of your car before starting. Cats will climb up in the engine compartment of a vehicle to keep warm. Follow these tips and your pet will have a fun-filled, safe winter. Just keep in mind that if it’s too cold for you outside, it’s probably too cold for your pets as well.”
Last of all, we spoke to Patricia Kramer with of Sacred Leaf Lincoln about products they offer to soothe and care for pets during a cold and stressful season.
“As the days get colder and the hours get shorter, our stress levels rise with the need to fit everything into shorter days. Celebrating this winter can certainly be fun, but it can also come with stress for everyone—even our pets!” she said. “Our cats and dogs can feel overwhelmed, just like humans can. Luckily, you can help calm your furry friends with CBD.
During the winter months, one important thing for dog and cat owners to keep in mind is that noises, crowds of people, leaving pets alone while you are away traveling, or a change of schedule can throw your pet for a loop. They don’t necessarily understand what is happening when they see commotion. They can feel anxious when a crowd of people suddenly invades their routine. CBD can help calm them naturally when you have a crowd of people in your home. If your pet appears to have high stress and high anxiety, giving them CBD might do the trick.”
Because not all CBD is created equally and not all products are safe for pets, Patricia offered helpful information for owners who are choosing CBD products for their pets.
“Please remember that dogs cannot consume all of the same ingredients as humans,” she said. “Dogs may not react well to certain chemicals or dyes. When shopping for CBD pet products, Marijuana Business Magazine writes, ‘Any grain-based fillers, or sweeteners of any kind, are red flags – neither appears in an animal’s natural diet. And take a careful look at any peanut butter. Dogs love peanut butter, and it’s a common ingredient in dog treats, but an artificial sweetener found in some peanut butters, xylitol, is highly toxic in dogs and must be avoided.’
If you try CBD dog treats, please remember to NEVER feed your dog a treat that contains xylitol! Do not make your own dog treats with marijuana flower. Always purchase from reputable sellers.
If you have a cat, try CBD oil for them instead of treats marketed for dogs. Giving CBD oil to cats is generally regarded as safe, but please follow the instructions from your veterinarian and read the steps on the product you purchase to ensure you are giving your cat the proper dosage. Many scientists have documented that the marijuana plant can be toxic for cats, so never feed them flower or an edible that has been baked with cannabis flower mixed into the batter. Do not make your own CBD cat treats. Instead, stick to CBD oil for your feline friend. Always ask your veterinarian for their opinion before giving CBD products to your pet.
If you are interested in giving safe CBD products to your furry friend, Sacred Leaf Lincoln offers pet tincture and pet treats for four different areas you might be treating. The most popular option for pets during the winter season is our pet tincture because we feel it can help ease their anxiety.”
Providing adequate care to pets during the winter requires extra thought and attention. Remember the cold weather is often as hard on your pet as it is on you. Pets may not be able to communicate all of their needs, but they trust us to take care of them, and we are responsible for their additional needs during the winter months. Don’t hesitate to take advantage of the great resources available for winter pet care in Lincoln. Your beloved pet will thank you for it later!