As winter weather blows in, PetSmart (NASDAQ: PETM) reminds pet parents to keep their pets’ health and safety top of mind. While some thick-coated breeds may handle the chilly temperatures better, special consideration should be made for all dogs before heading outside. “Pets aren’t always able to tell us when they are uncomfortable so it’s important to watch for signs and plan ahead for low temperatures and icy conditions,” said Dr. Simon Starkey, a PetSmart veterinarian. “With a little preparation, winter can be a safe and fun time for pets.” PetSmart provided these cold weather tips for pet parents:
- Protect your dog’s coat with a coat or sweater: Make sure the apparel you choose is dry and doesn’t restrict your dog’s movement. Consider a Top Paw® 3M Thinsulate jacket or a sweater to protect your dog from the elements, especially for breeds that are miniature, shorthaired, hairless or aren’t accustom to colder temperatures.
- Keep your dog’s paws clean and protected: Check your dog’s paws during and after a walk for injuries such as cuts from ice and salt, cracked pads or ice that accumulates between his toes. Keeping the fur between the paws trimmed can help prevent ice from building up. A bootie made for dog paws, and fitted properly, also can protect the paws from icy sidewalks and extreme cold.
- Wipe winter debris off your dog’s fur and paws: When you walk your dog outside, his feet and fur may collect remnants of de-icers and antifreeze which can be poisonous if licked off. Be sure to wipe off your dog, especially his paws before going back inside. Consider using pet-safe de-icing products around your home to reduce your dog’s risk of ingesting harmful chemicals.
- Dogs get creaky joints, too: As dogs age they can get arthritis in their joints, just like humans, and cold, damp winter weather can increase arthritis pain. To help alleviate some of the pain, consider adding a nutritional supplement containing glucosamine to his diet.