In our last post, Preparing Your Livestock For Winter, we discussed some ways to prepare your livestock for the winter months ahead, but, what about your pets? Domesticated pets are not prepared to handle the winter the same way their wild counterparts or your livestock are, and at Conroe Feeders, we care about all of Conroe’s animals! In today’s post, we are going to offer pet owners some winter safety tips.
Here in Conroe, Texas, we are fortunate enough to have fairly mild winters with very rare snow showers and just a few days where the temperature falls below freezing. However, with the average temperature being higher than the national average and summers sweltering into the 90s, winter days in the low 40s can make animals and their humans as uncomfortable as -7° in New York City. Livestock and pets in Conroe are acclimatized to Conroe summers, so preparing your domestic animals for winter is the same as if we did get feet of snow. At Conroe Feeders, we have all the food and pet supplies that your pets and livestock need to be comfortable and healthy all winter long.
Give them a bath.
Over the winter months, you’ll want to avoid a bath unless your pets need it. So, before the temperature drops and the first freeze comes, it is a good idea to give your pets a bath or send them to the groomer. A fresh clean coat will reduce the chances they will require a bath during winter and a clean coat helps your pet stay warmer.
Know your pet’s limits.
If your domestic animals are indoor/ outdoor pets, make sure you know your pet’s specific limits and be sure to understand that these limits may change as they age. Heat and cold tolerances may vary based on their coat health, body fat stores, energy and activity level, and overall health. Pay attention on walks or play and check on outdoor pets more frequently when the temperature drops. For dogs with arthritis, you may need to bring the animal inside for the winter.
Provide adequate shelter.
Your pets should have access to shelter all throughout the year, and for the most part, the shelter that protects your animals from the sun and heat in the summer should be fine for blocking chilly wind and cold rain in the winter. However, you should check the shelter before the temperature plummets to ensure that it is safe and keeps the drafts out. For severe or extreme weather, consider bringing your pets inside. A good rule of thumb is if it is too cold out for you to survive the night out of doors, it is likely too cold for your pets.
Check your vehicles.
In wintertime, more than any other time of year, small animals, like cats, seek out the warmth of small, tight spaces, and car engines are a popular place to hide. To prevent unintentionally harming small animals or pets, it is good practice to tap the hood of your vehicle a few times before getting in and starting the engine. This is a practical year-round tip, but more important during the winter.
Provide access to plenty of food and fresh water.
During winter months, the calorie requirement for outdoor animals will go up, without their activity level increasing. Be sure to account for this increase in caloric need by increasing either the amount of food you feed or by adding high-calorie supplements. The freshwater requirement for animals and humans does not decrease in cold weather. Although you may not feel as thirsty as when you are hot, hydration is still critical during the cold months. Ensure your animals and livestock have access to plenty of fresh water, and that it hasn’t frozen over.
Cats and dogs don’t get shoes the way our hooved livestock do, which makes the hot ground and ice uncomfortable and can cause problems with their paw pads. Avoid going on long walks in the snow or over ice and remove crystal build-up to prevent pad tearing. Massaging petroleum jelly into the paws can help protect the paw pads from absorbing salt or other chemicals that are common on the ground during winter, including coolant and anti-freeze. If you have an indoor/ outdoor animal, regularly cleaning the animal’s paws and applying petroleum jelly can help.
At Conroe Feeders, we care about the health, safety, and happiness of your animals — livestock and domestic. We have all of the supplies and feed you need to keep your pets happy and healthy this winter. For all of your animal needs or just to get some answers to your questions, stop by and talk to the friendly and knowledgeable team at Conroe Feeders. We look forward to meeting you and your pets!