Keep Pets Healthy During Winter: 8 Tips You Need To Know

New York Smash Magazine  

Harsh winter weather can wreak havoc on your health. What you may not know is that our pets are also suffering through it.

Just like humans, freezing temperatures, blistering cold winds, snow and ice can cause a number of medical and physical problems for pets. In the wintertime, most dogs don’t get enough exercise because it’s simply too cold (and dangerous) to go out for long periods of time, which can cause weight gain. In fact, 54 percent of America’s pets are overweight or obese, according to Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. Just like us, dogs are also susceptible to frostbite. 

Thanks to pet doctors and specialists at BluePearl Veterinary Partners, here are eight essential ways to keep your furry friends healthy and happy throughout the winter.

1. Try outfitting pets in sweaters or fleece when taking them outside to play. But remember, just like people, pets can develop frostbite, so make sure to limit the time they are outdoors. Heed any winter warnings for people and apply the same caution for pets.

2. When using de-icers, make sure they are pet friendly, so they do not irritate a pet’s paw pads. Pet parents can also outfit their pets with booties, or they can try Musher’s Secret, a wax-like substance that acts as a protector for dogs’ paws.

3. If outdoor activities are out of the question, try playing tug of war or fetch inside with your pet to increase their aerobic activity.

4. Try using treats in moderation as an incentive to get pets to be more physically active.

5. Search the internet for a local indoor pet training facility. There may be a place that provides agility training or flyball in a heated facility.

6. When winter does come to an end, make sure to slowly work pets up to the exercise level they were used to, prior to winter. An out of shape dog can be much more prone to heat exhaustion, even if the temperature doesn’t seem that hot. 

7. Check with your veterinarian to make sure you are feeding your pet proper portions of food, and avoid giving them people food.

8. Monitor your pet’s weight; see your veterinarian regularly. Consult with them about the best way for your pet to shed the extra pounds, according to Dr. Jennifer Welser, chief medical officer of BluePearl Veterinary Partners. Also, there may be an underlying medical condition, as not all weight conditions are a result of diet and exercise.

About BluePearl Veterinary Partners
BluePearl Veterinary Partners employs 2,400 team members including more than 500 veterinarians. BluePearl hospitals offer referral-only, specialty care services and most offer 24-hour emergency care. BluePearl does not provide primary care. The company is one of the world’s principal providers of approved veterinary residency and internship programs. BluePearl also participates in clinical trials that investigate the effectiveness of new veterinary drugs and treatments, providing pet families access to cutting-edge medicine that is not yet commercially available. BluePearl is headquartered in Tampa, FL.