As we welcome a new year with the changing of the calendar, New Jersey residents once again prepare for the worst of the winter season. In addition to watching our heating bill rise, shovels and rock salt are selling off the shelves and the once busy streets are now quiet as people elect to stay indoors when the temperatures dip to dangerous lows.  But as you and your family avoid the blistering cold and cozy up in the living room with the fireplace burning, a problem arises: Your pet has to go out, and he can’t hold it any longer!
 
Taking the right precautions for your pet during the winter season is vital to keeping your dog or cat safe and healthy. Here are a few cold weather tips to help you and your pet through a successful winter.
 

1.      Keep your dog on leash while walking in the snow or ice. Dogs can lose their scent when the ground is heavily covered in snow which can lead to them getting lost. Always make sure you have a firm grip on the leash, just in case your dog decides to dart after another furry animal without warning.

2.      Dress your dog in a sweater or coat, especially for the shorter-haired breeds. Despite being covered with hair, your dog can be just as cold as you are when the temperature drops. By adding another layer you will help your dog stay comfortable on your daily walks.
3.      Try your best to avoid rock salt, as it can hurt or irritate your dog’s sensitive paws. As an alternative use sand or cat litter on the ice around your home to better suit your four legged friend.
4.      Be watchful of your dog’s diet, as many become less active in the winter season. Your dog may pack on some pounds in the winter due to over-feeding and less outdoor activity. If your dog understandably spends less time running around outside due to the cold weather, remember to be careful of how much you are feeding him.

5.      Bring your outdoor cat inside for the winter. If your cat normally spends a lot of time roaming around outside your home, it may be wise to have him come indoors when the weather gets really cold. Although they may not enjoy staying indoors all day, it will be better for their health in the long run.

6.      And finally, make sure to provide your pet with a warm cozy place to sleep. A comfy bed with blankets is sure to keep your pet warm and happy as we wait for the warm weather to return.

Sources:
The Salem News – Make Sure Your Pets Have a Warm Safe Winter:
http://www.salemnews.com/lifestyle/x1525003981/Make-sure-your-pets-have-a-warm-safe-winter

ASPCA – Cold Weather Tips:
http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/pet-care-tips/cold-weather-tips.aspx

We are pleased to have Vin, as a contributing writer for If They Could Talk. Vin is a passionate dog owner. We look forward to sharing his contribution on interesting and educational pet topics.