Winter reminders for pet-owners


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As we head into the deeper parts of the winter, I want to offer just a few reminders about safety with pets.

Fences that are fine in summer get a lot shorter as snow piles up on them, on both sides. Which means easier paths to escape for your pets, as well as easier paths of ingress for wild animals. With larger numbers of coyotes and foxes being seen in the city, they can pose a threat to your pets if they get into your yard, especially small dogs and cats. Make sure you are keeping an eye out for any new opportunities and take precautions.

Many of our overwintering fauna become more aggressive with the cold weather, trying to find resources. Deer at bird feeders, raccoons in the garbage, mice finding ways into the house — dealing with these varmints is not just a nuisance but can also pose a problem. All these animals can carry fleas or ticks and could possibly pass them on to your pets. Just because it is cold out, don’t assume you are safe from these pests.

                                <p>Making sure your pets are safe and warm in the winter is usually a matter of common sense.</p>


Making sure your pets are safe and warm in the winter is usually a matter of common sense.

The salt that is most used to melt snow and ice on roads and sidewalks is not good for your pets’ paws. Many dogs that are tough enough to walk in winter without boots can end up with foot and pad issues from ice melters, or the irritation can lead to licking or chewing on the paws, which is a problem on its own. If you are walking in areas where ice melter has been used, try to avoid the areas, or give your pets some protection. Try to find a pet-friendly product for your own yard. They are harder to find and more expensive, but worth the effort. You could also limit yourself to using a clean sand product.

Keeping a pets’ feet and pads moisturized in the winter is important. This helps prevent cracking and bleeding of the pads, and again, licking and chewing. As humidity falls in our homes, pads and coats can also become cold. A simple pad cream, applied regularly and before walking, can make a huge difference, especially if you can’t use boots. Coat and pad health can also be addressed using Omega 3 supplements, moisturizing from the inside out, as it were.

Keeping a dog’s coat well-groomed and brushed means they will be warmer and safer. In winter, dampness from snow can make matts form a lot faster and clothing can cause the fur to rub together, making things even worse. Some people think leaving a dog’s coat longer in winter keeps them warmer, but in most cases the opposite is true. A shorter, fluffy, dry coat provides a lot more insulation than a longer matted, wet coat. A winter grooming can also prevent a lot of expense when a spring grooming becomes a painful shave that can reveal issues such as sores and infections.

We can’t protect our pets from every challenge winter can bring, but by using a little common sense, and being reminded of potential dangers, maybe we can help avoid issues.

Jeff McFarlane

Jeff McFarlane
Pets Are People, Too

Jeff McFarlane is the owner of Thrive Pet Food Market. Contact him with your questions or ideas or visit

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