pet in the winter

Dogs and cats may have a full coat of fur, but that isn’t always enough to keep them warm in the winter. Celebrating the holidays can present specific challenges as well, from travel plans to seemingly edible decorations and plants. It’s important to take precautions to keep your pets safe and comfortable this winter.

Decorations and Lights

Wintertime presents a number of risks to your pets that you may not have considered such as holiday plants, lights and decorations. By decorating our homes for the holidays, we are introducing many new and foreign objects that are intriguing to our furry friends. You dog may be confused and lift their leg on the Christmas tree in the living room, and your kitten will likely want to bat at the dangling branches within reach. These mishaps can be managed, however.

What you want to prevent is your pet from consuming any and all decorations. Pine needles and mistletoe can be a choking hazard and cause serious indigestion in your pets if consumed. Some animals have the bad habit of chewing on cords, which can provide a hazard if you are one that enjoys covering your home in many strands of lights. If you animal is prone to chewing on plants, cords and dangling decorations, make sure to place them out of reach.

Temperature Control

Preparing your pets for colder temperatures and icy weather can help keep your pets happy and healthy. Being proactive by setting yourself up for success before the extreme winter weather hits will keep you from scrambling after the first major snowfall or deep overnight freeze. Set your thermostats to a comfortable setting for your pets while you are away. If they are left unattended and the heat is set too high, there is the potential risk of them scalding themselves on a heat vent or on the exterior of a thermostat-regulated gas fireplace.

Winterizing your home before colder winter weather sets in is one of the best ways to make sure you and your pets are comfortable all season long. If you have drafty windows and doors, it can cause your furnace to be overworked and cause a potential hazard for leaving your pet at home alone. Additionally, if you have pipes prone to freezing, it could cause one to rupture and flood your home with your pet inside while you are away. Take the precautions necessary to protect your pets as well as your home.

Winter Traveling

If you’re traveling for the holidays, be sure to keep your pets safe on the road. The roads can be icy and slick, even when the sun is out. It is best practice to keep your animal contained when traveling, especially in the winter, for their own safety. In the event that you slide off the road or have to slam on the brakes, a traveling carrier will keep them from being flung about in the car. If your animal doesn’t travel well, consider hiring a pet sitter this holiday and saving your animal the stress of having to endure the road miles. Although you may miss them, they may prefer to spend the holidays in the comfort of their own home.

Holiday Indulgence

We all have a tendency to overeat during the holidays. Why would you not want to? The holiday cookies and rich family recipes that make their way to the table are hard to resist. You may be tempted to let your pet share the same amount of treats and goodies, but be wary. You or visiting family members might want to give your pets a special treat when gathering together for holiday dinners, but be cautious when sharing human foods with dogs and cats. Certain foods can cause serious digestion issues for your animals. Make it known when sitting down for a meal that the pets are not to be fed — or better yet, put your pets away during the holiday festivities so that others are not tempted to share their food with them.

This winter season, make sure to attend to your pet’s changing needs as the weather gets colder and you celebrate the winter holidays. Keep the both of you warm, active and merry while you bring in the new year together.