As temperatures dip lower and the snow falls, there are several precautious you should take to keep your pets warm during the winter. Exposure to the harsh winter elements can be just as dangerous and uncomfortable to pets as humans. Like humans, dogs and cats can suffer from chapped paws as well as dry, flaky skin.

Here are a few things to help keep your pet warm and comfortable through the long winter ahead:

  • Over time, rapid temperature changes can lead to itchy and flaky skin. Use a towel to dry your pet when bringing them back inside to help gradually warm them. Be sure to pay special attention to their belly, paws and the area between the toes.
  • Staying warm burns more energy than you think. A little extra serving or foods higher in protein will help to replenish their energy level. Keeping pets hydrated will prevent skin dryness.
  • The oils found on animals coats are essential to reduce skin irritation. When you bathe your pet too frequently, especially in the winter, you risk drying the skin and causing irritation. Bathe your pets as little as possible during cold spells and use a moisturizing shampoo to help soothe their skin.
  • A dog’s coat is their best defense against the harsh winter elements. A longer coat is ideal for colder months, providing insulation and warmth. To keep the coat at its best, it is important to brush regularly. Brushing will remove dead hair and debris, but will also stimulate blood flow, improving skin condition.
  • Chemicals found in antifreeze and other deicers can be potentially fatal if ingested. To prevent an accidental poisoning, thoroughly wipe your pets paws and stomach after they have been outside.
  • Smaller dogs especially need a sweater or coat when venturing outside. Another warm layer will help to trap heat, as well as protect the skin.
  • Even outdoor pets should become indoor pets when the temperatures fall drastically. It is just as difficult for pets to adjust to the cold as it is for humans. They should be indoors as much as possible during the winter.

If the temperatures outside are too cold for you, it’s too cold for your pets as well. Follow these tips to keep your pets safe, warm and healthy through the frigid winter months.