Heating system operational? Check. Plenty of woolen blankets? Check. Tire chains? Check. The winter is a-coming, and all the living beings of your household, including your pets, need to be prepared for the frigid temperatures that will soon cause your thermostat to plummet.

As you ready up your home, your vehicle, and take your winter woolies out of storage for the upcoming cold weather, don’t neglect your pet dog or cat. Your furry friend will need all the help he or she can get to be perfectly snug, warm and healthy during the winter time. Here are five tips for doing just that during the upcoming winter:

Warm Your Pet Up

Your dog and cat might sport a handsome coat of fur, but this may not be enough to protect him or her from the frigid temperatures of the winter, particularly if your pet is small in size. Smaller breeds have a higher ratio of body surface to body weight, which makes them radiate body heat faster than larger breeds. However, it wouldn’t hurt to dress your dog or cat in a miniature sweater or coat, should they spend lots of time outdoors in the cold.

A Dry Pet is Always Good

Getting caught in an unexpected rain shower is actually a lot worse for furry pets than it is for humans. Their furry coats retain water, which magnifies the effects of dampness and cold, boosting the risk of hypothermia in your companion animal. If fall is a season of random rain showers in your area, consider walking your dog with a spare dog poncho in your backpack so that you can be well prepared for when the clouds do break out in rain.

Regular Checkup

Before winter sets in, take your dog or cat to the vet for a checkup and to make sure there are no underlying issues. With dog flu running rampant, it wouldn’t hurt to have your dog vaccinated, in addition to any other vaccinations. And be sure to have your pet’s microchip checked. You never know when she might get loose.

Soothe Your Pet’s Skin

If your pet spends a lot of time outside in the cold and seems to have irritated, red, itchy skin as a result, wash the afflicted area with a mild soap and apply a triple antibiotic gel. Does your companion animal have a cracked, dry nose? Dab a bit of pet-friendly healing balm on her nose, every once in a while until the nose appears fully healed. Take care to apply the ointment right after a meal so that she doesn’t lick it off.

Reflective Gear is a Must for Night Walks

Having your pet dog sport a reflective dog jacket when you both go out at night, or in foggy, rainy or snowy weather, will alert drivers to the presence of your animal if he or she happens to walk, run or bolt too close to oncoming traffic. A good idea for dogs and cats, alike, reflective gear will keep your pet safe, as will an attached name tag to help determine where the pet’s home is located.

Protective Paw Booties for Those Icy Days

When the weather outside calls for snow boots, make sure your pet dog and cat is sporting the equivalent for them – protective paw booties. The truth is pets are susceptible to frostbite, and the chemicals or salt typically spread on the road to melt ice and snow can be bad for your pet’s
paw skin.

A Final Thought

While your dog or cat might have feral genetics, if she is a bonafide house animal, then she loves being indoors. So helping her out by following the above tips, which should safeguard her from the coming cold and keep her healthy and cozy to boot.