As the winter months bring blustering snow and sleet to many areas of the country, towering drifts even create “invisible” dogs in some areas — pooches completely snow-covered on daily walks.
This experience is typical for small dogs in the winter, says pet safety expert Christina Selter. “They jump out in that snow and just disappear inside, especially when it is soft snow that is about a foot deep,” said Selter, founder of Bark Buckle UP in San Clemente, CA.
Selter recommends that owners keep both feline and canine pals indoors, especially when areas are faced with blizzard conditions. When pets have to relieve themselves, Selter offers a safe solution — the PottyPatch, made of synthetic grass and the only pet bathroom endorsed by the American Kennel Club. “It is just safer, to keep them from getting hurt, injured, or lost,” said Selter.
However, inclement weather can lead to a reduced activity level for pets. “Just like children, if they get bored, they get destructive,” said Selter.
To help keep your pets from getting cabin fever, here are some tips from Selter to beat the blizzard blues:
1. Keep your pets’ toys out and available so that they can “get moving, even if it’s just for 15 or 20 minutes,” said Selter.
2. Carve out extra time in your schedule for interactive play to keep both cats and dogs active.
3. Do your pets follow you around the house constantly? Take advantage of their behavior and let them chase you up and down the halls, or up and down stairs.
4. Your own indoor exercise regimen will help your pets. If you exercise along with DVDs or a game console such as the Wii, your pets will “get excited and will be wiggling around with you,” said Selter.
5. Older dogs may be more inclined to become inactive in cold weather, so spend “more effort to get them up and around,” said Selter. “The key is finding what works for your pet and getting them active.”
Summer Valley Veterinary Clinic
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