A guest post by Lucy Wyndham
As the leaves begin to change and the weather turns a bit cooler, people all over the country reach for their jackets and begin to crank up the heat. It is natural to cozy up to the fireplace and drink warm tea to fight off a cold, but few people tend to think about the needs of their pets during the colder months of the year. In fact, once temperatures drop below 20°F, you should be aware that dogs could potentially develop cold-associated health problems like hypothermia and frostbite, not to mention be more susceptible to household pests such as fleas and ticks. As a responsible pet owner, you will definitely want to ensure that you are caring for your beloved furry friends during cool winter months.
(image by Beth Ireland)
Exercising your pets in cold weather
Seeing as up to 60% of dogs are overweight, and about half of those are obese, it is important to ensure your dog is eating healthfully and receiving enough exercise even during cold winter months. Hide-and-seek is a fun way to get your dog up and moving around the house while signing them up for an indoor agility or swimming class can provide them with the opportunity to socialize with other dogs while getting their workout in. If you own a larger breed of dog, however, simply let them play out in the cold weather! 30 to 40 minutes of playtime in the snow will not only work their heart and other muscles, it will tire them out so they aren’t so rowdy cooped up inside the house.
Ensure your home is pest-free
While it might seem like your home is immune to pests during cold, dry winter months, the National Pest Management Association encourages homeowners to take several precautions against common winter pests like mice, rats, raccoons, cockroaches, and spiders. Because your pet will likely be kept inside more during this time of the year, it will be more important than ever to ensure that your home is pest-free and safe. In the instance that preventative measures didn’t work and you are required to treat your home, remove your pets from the area before you begin applying pesticides and talk to your pesticide company about the potential risks their products could have.
Be mindful of the heat
Pets can be just as prone to drastic changes in heating and cooling indoors as humans. During the cold winter months, it is important to be mindful of leaving the indoor heat blasting on all day, especially if your pet is left at home alone. Be sure to never leave your pet alone in front of a heater or open fire, and be mindful of how long they are left exposed to a hot environment in general. If you prefer to keep your home a bit cooler, you might try investing in a warm dog jacket that should suffice in keeping them toasty on top of their natural fur coat.
Keeping the whole family safe
As the days turn colder and shorter, it is important to keep the health of your home and family in mind. Ensure that your home is free of pests and other potential hazards and germs as your family will likely be spending a lot of time indoors together. Treat your pet as another member of the family and ensure they receive enough love, warmth, and exercise and they will enjoy spending the cold winter indoors with you as well.