Cold winter weather can be hard on us humans, but it's not easy on our four-legged friends either! Our real estate agents want to make sure your pets stay safe this season, so be sure to take these safety tips into account if you're out there looking at Rockingham County homes for sale!
- Keep your house humidified.
You're probably very familiar with the effects of dry winter air on your own skin. Pets suffer in much the same way, so it's best to run a humidifier for both your sakes! Dry, flaky skin can also be exacerbated by coming in and out of the cold, so dry your pets off quickly any time you come inside (especially their feet).
- Stay inside when it's too cold.
It's easy to assume that just because pets have fur, they're impervious to the cold. That's actually not the case, and while fur does provide some protection—how much depends on the breed—dogs and cats are susceptible to the cold in the same ways we are. They can get hypothermia and frostbite when it's bitterly cold, so it's best to stay inside as much as possible during cold weather, keeping outdoor potty breaks as brief as possible. Plus, keep a towel near the door to wipe off their paws, legs, and belly after being outside in winter. This isn't just to keep them from bringing snow and ice inside. It's to get rid of any chemicals they might have picked up, like antifreeze and de-icers, which can be toxic.
- Dial back the grooming.
Don't shave your pet down to their shortest hair length in winter. A little extra fluff will help them stay warm. If you have a long-haired breed, you can trim it a little shorter (just enough so that their fur doesn't drag on the snow and pick up ice balls). Also, cut back on your pet's bathing schedule. Frequent bathing removes essential oils from the skin, which leaves cats vulnerable to dry, flaky skin. It's best to bathe your pet less often in winter and ask your vet to recommend a moisturizing shampoo.
- Watch out for spills.
While antifreeze is toxic to dogs, it has a sweet taste that may tempt them to lick it up off the ground. Do your best to avoid spills in your own yard and driveway, and don't let your pooch lick the ground in areas where there may be chemicals mixed in with the snow.
- Give them a warm bed.
Your dog or cat bed doesn't have to be fancy, but a warm blanket and/or a bed appropriate to their size will help them stay warm on chilly nights. It's especially important to give your pet a place to sleep if you have wood or tile floors. While you're at the pet supply store. Consider buying a sweater for your dog, especially if they have short fur. Not all pets take kindly to wearing "clothes," so use your best judgment! That being said, most dogs—especially shorter-haired breeds—can benefit from a doggie jacket or sweater when they go outside. And booties can help protect their paws from harsh salt and chemicals.
- Use pet-safe de-icers.
Contrary to what some product marketing may suggest, no ice melting product is perfect for dogs. Your pet should never be allowed to eat or lick up rock salt or other de-icer products off the ground. But some products are less harmful than others. De-icers made of magnesium chloride are a bit easier on pets' paws than regular rock salt.
- Feed them a little more.
Pets may burn more energy in winter than they do in the summer, especially if they're spending time outdoors and their bodies are trying to stay warm. It's okay to give them a little more food than you normally would and the occasional extra (healthy) treat. And as always, make sure they have plenty of water!
At Old Dominion Realty, we're committed to finding the perfect home for every pet... and their humans too. Contact us today to learn more about how to find pet-friendly Harrisonburg homes for sale!