The chilly Winter season is upon us, which means that pet owners everywhere may be inadvertently putting the lives of their beloved pets in danger by leaving them outside or making other common mistakes which can imperil their health. Taking care of a pet is never easy, but it can be particularly challenging during the Winter, when everything from taking them to a walk to driving to the pet store can become more challenging.

What should pet owners do to ensure their furry friends are happy and healthy over the holiday season? Here are some tips to review for taking care of your pet this winter, and what terrible mistakes to avoid making.

Know when to keep them inside

One of the most important tips for keeping your pets safe is to know when to keep them inside. It goes without saying that inclement weather conditions and animals ability to tolerate such conditions vary on a wide basis. There are nevertheless some general rules of thumb which can be relied upon to keep your pet safe if you’re unsure of how they react to winter weather. Any time that it’s colder than 32 degrees Fahrenheit, for instance, you should strive to keep your pet outdoors for only limited periods at a time. Keeping pets outside for an hour or more when it’s less than 32 degrees out can spell out serious negative health consequences.

Sometimes, animal-specific knowledge may be needed. That’s why dog owners should set aside time to read up on winter dog care, as dogs are one of (if not the) most popular pets in the nation. Paying careful attention to their paws is particularly important, as these can be seriously harmed by extended exposure to frosty sidewalks or deep snowbanks. Winter cat care is very similar, but you should pay special attention to the dangers of antifreeze poisoning. Antifreeze is frequently relied upon during the winter (for obvious reasons) but can be toxic if cats ingest it, which they have a tendency to do accidentally when roaming around due to its sweet taste.

Take your pet to the Pharr Road Animal Hospital or a similar emergency care facility if they ingest antifreeze or similar chemicals which are harmful to digest. If it’s very snowy outside, shovel out a small area for your animals to travel around in and to allow them to use the bathroom; forcing them to dig their own holes in deep snow can be harmful to their health, especially when it comes to frostbite pertaining to their paws. Don’t be afraid to get your pets custom-made footwear to protect them while walking outside. For those who avoid such footwear, it’s important to know that cleaning your pets paws after taking them outside for prolonged periods in the Winter is essential towards maintaining their health. If their paws are cold, wet, and muddy after being outside, they’re liable to dry and crack once they’re indoors, which can cause long-term health problems and diminish their ability to walk or run. Keep these tips in mind, and you and your pet will soon make it through the Winter without any problems arising.