(Welcome to the weekly pet column of Pet Connection Programs Inc. of Marilla, N.Y. A new article is posted each week, so be sure to check back on a regular basis!)
The holidays are upon us, and so is the chillier weather. As you bundle up and get cozy with your cocoa, Dr. Jeff Werber, Emmy Award-winning celebrity veterinarian, has some tips and tricks on how to ensure your pet has a healthy and happy holiday season.
Baby, it’s cold outside
Keeping warm is easy for us pet parents, as we can layer up and put on an extra sweater or coat. While battling colder winter temperatures, don’t forget your four-legged family members! It is true that most dogs, and a lot of cats, can adequately thermoregulate in most temperatures, but smaller pets may need some help. Little doggie sweaters or coats, like the Wouapy Outdoor or Bubble Coat, are great solutions for the smaller breeds to keep them warm but still mobile while outside.
Freezing temperatures are not the only winter problem. Many cities and municipalities pour salt on sidewalks and streets to help melt snow and minimize the inherent slippery surfaces. This salt can be very irritating to the feet of our beloved dogs and cats, so clean their paws after each walk to remove any residue, or, better yet, try some booties to provide necessary protection.
‘Tis the season to party and celebrate by spending quality time with friends and family. This is great for you and your crew, but what about your four-legged kids? After all, they, too, are part of the family and you certainly don’t want to exclude them from the festivities. The fact is, if you’re not careful and don’t plan ahead, they may in fact ruin some of those good times!
This time of year brings a revolving door of guests and the sound of the doorbell constantly ringing. As exciting as it may be to see long-distance relatives, this can bring some unexpected stress on your pets. Whether you are hosting or traveling to the next get-together, consider outfitting your dog with the Calmz Anxiety Relief System, a non-invasive, drug-free treatment that soothes common anxieties to help naturally combat the stress of traveling, loud noises and strangers.
In addition, provide pets with a comfortable space where they can retreat if they are feeling stressed. Dogs are naturally denning animals, so kennels like the Ultra Vari Kennel are great options for them to retreat to a safe haven while still being part of the festivities.
Keep them happy, keep them occupied
Decking the halls can be a disaster with curious pets wanting to play with the newly placed ornaments on that “big green climbable thing” in the corner. What’s more, these decorations can be extremely dangerous for your pet. Cats love to bat at sparkling tinsel and carry it in their mouths. Not only does this lead to a big mess, but it can also obstruct their digestive tract if ingested. Distract your playful kitty with a fun toy like the Jackson Galaxy Butterfly Ball, to mentally stimulate your pet and tap into their natural instincts to observe and track prey, rather than taking interest in a fallen glass ornament. In addition, avoid chewing hazards by giving your dog an interactive treat toy like the JW Ho-lee Gourmet, which will encourage them to play with their food rather than a wire from decorative lights.
Don’t forget to give them plenty of exercise! It may be too cold to play fetch outside, but it’s still important to keep them active. Providing regular exercise, especially in winter, helps prevent boredom, which can lead to destructive behavior. Going on a brisk walk with the K9 Control Retractable Leash, the only retractable leash designed to retract in lock or stop position, is a great way to bond with and mentally stimulate your dog while getting them up and moving.
Lastly, even with the best planning and most conscientious care, accidents do happen. Make sure you keep your veterinarian’s number handy as well as your local 24-hour emergency facility just in case.
(For more information on pets and animal adoption, please visit www.petconnectionprogramsinc.com. Or, visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/PetConnectionProgramsinc. Located in Marilla, N.Y., Pet Connection Programs Inc. is a nonprofit maternity and special care shelter founded in 1984.)