Winter is coming. As such, it is important to make sure that your pet is well groomed! Their fur is essential in keeping them warm because it allows them to regulate their body temperature by trapping heat. Here are a few tips to think about regarding a pet’s grooming needs during the winter months:
Brush your pet regularly – Doing so helps remove dead fur, tangle and knots in their hair, and dirt or other contaminants. The motion also stimulates blood flow and helps distribute the natural oil layer a pet’s body produces. Remember that pets with longer coats are more easily dirtied and tangled so take extra care with them!
Bathe your pet less often – Like human hair, pet fur can easily dry given the right conditions. In the winter especially, windy and dry air combined with artificial indoor heating can deplete the natural oils that coat a pet’s fur. Be cautious of bathing them too often to prevent dry dog skin. When doing so, use a mild shampoo and make sure to rinse it off thoroughly with warm water.
Trim your pet’s nails – With less walking in the winter, nails on your pet last longer because they do not deteriorate as quickly from the ground. Make sure to continue to trim them to avoid toxins and other illnesses from collecting in their nails and putting themselves and you at risk! If you don’t feel comfortable cutting them yourself, grooming services offered by a grooming salon can do a professional job.
Ear cleaning for your pet – Arguably one of the most crucial parts of the grooming process, cleaning your pets’ ears will not only help with their odor, but will also rid your pet of any infections as their ears are prone to collecting dirt, debris, wax, and other germs. The easiest way to clean their ears is by wetting a cotton ball with ear cleaning solution and gently rubbing their ear canal while making sure not to stick it too far into the ear.
Regular teeth brushing – Making sure you brush your pet’s teeth is important; not doing so may result in plaque buildup, periodontal disease, and tooth loss. You can keep your pet’s teeth clean by using tooth appliances especially made for pets, finger brushes, or even your own finger wrapped in gauze.
Paw protection – As the chilly winter months are nearing and colder temperatures become more common, your pets may experience irritated skin or dry skin issues. Common preventatives that may shield their skin from these infections consist of skin moisturizer, natural skin oils, paw protectors, and boots.
As the holiday season and its subsequent feasts begin, it is important that you make sure your pets stay away from certain food scraps. Chocolate is infamously known to be harmful to dogs and cats, however other sweets and baked goods like cupcakes, candy, and chewing gum can lead to liver failure and even death. Onions, raisins, grapes, and fatty foods can be hard for animals to digest and can cause pancreatitis and stomach upset. Yeast dough can also cause problems for the digestive system in pets and lead to potentially dangerous symptoms like bloating.
At a party with many guests and little ones running around, the danger that Christmas trees and the ornaments that hang on them pose to pets is a notable one. Shattered ornaments can not only cause problems for your pets on the outside, but also internally if they are ingested. Tinsel and other holiday decorations can also be tempting for pets to eat. If they do, intestinal blockage may occur. Make sure to not leave any boxes of these items laying around and fasten them correctly. Electric lights can cause burns when pets chew on the electrical cords, and candles may become a fire hazard if a pet or guest were to knock one over. Festive holiday plants that shed pine needles can also pose a danger to the skin or when ingested as well. Just remember to always be mindful where and what your pet is around!
During holiday parties, it is advised to hire pet sitters or place your pet in a stress-free environment due to the dangerous decorations or distracting bright lights that may be lurking in the environment. If not, make sure to keep your pet away from adult holiday beverages, unattended plates of human food, holiday decor, toxic plants, and stress-inducing factors such as new visitors, loud noises, etc. It’s also a good idea to microchip your pet or provide them with proper identification, as they will have a higher likelihood of being discovered if they were to sneak out.
In order to ensure a safe holiday season for your pet, it’s important to avoid certain seasonal plants consisting of poinsettias, mistletoe, pine, azalea, and hollies that may result in internal damage in the gastrointestinal tract when consumed. Furthermore, large varieties of lilies can also result in renal damage/kidney failure, so make sure to keep these common holiday plants far from your pets’ reach.
During this busy holiday season, one of the biggest holiday dangers is traveling with your pets. Whether it’s traveling by car or air, it can induce feelings of stress and anxiety in your pet due to the change in their normal routine. Pets in cars or trucks should never be left in the vehicle, especially in cold weather, and they should be safely restrained, away from any airbags. When traveling by air, on the other hand, it could be potentially dangerous to pets’ health, especially short-snouted ones, so it’s smart to consult your veterinarian about it before traveling.