Consider how the cold, dry winter weather affects your health and skin, and how your clothing habits, exercise routine and skincare regimen changes as a result of these weather changes.  Just as the winter season affects humans, it also affects pets.  They too require special care in order to deal with environmental changes, and stave off illness.

Modifying a Pet’s Routine in Winter

Colder weather can affect a pet’s respiratory system, causing them sinus and breathing problems.  If they suffer from arthritis or other joint issues, these can be exacerbated by colder weather.  Owners can help them by making certain changes in their routine, including:

● Sleeping area changes.  Pets need a sleeping area that is insulated, warm and cozy.  Pets that sleep outdoors at night need a place that is both wind and waterproof.  Crates and shelters should be raised above ground level to help prevent excessive moisture or water on the floor.  Pets that sleep indoors at night should have a bed that is large enough so their entire body can fit inside.  Older pets should have a blanket draped over their body to help them keep warm.

● Dietary changes. Food gives a pet the energy they need to keep their body warm.  By increasing their pet’s food intake during the winter, owners can ensure that their pet gets the additional energy they need.  However, any change to a pet’s diet is best mandated by their veterinarian.

● Access to lots of clean water.  The drier weather can quickly dehydrate a pet, so they will need access to plenty of clean water.

● Exercise and activity changes. While some exercise and activity in the crisp winter air can be healthful for your pet, you have to also consider their delicate paw pads.  The cold, wet concrete, snow and ice can dry out and crack paw pads, making it painful for your pet to walk around.  Velcro straps and booties can help to protect their feet.  More toys and games indoors can also help to limit the amount of time they spend outdoors in the cold winter air.

● Home changes. There are some things that are more commonly used during the winter and that can be highly toxic for pets, like antifreeze.  It is important that you check around your house and ensure that your pet is safe from such things.