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While winter weather tends to make us giddy over various seasonal activities, it’s important to remember the hazards that colder weather poses to our furry best friends. Pets tend to make the most out of any situation, which is why we love them! This positivity is infectious, but it’s up to the owner to spot the hidden hazards that your pet may not even notice.

The Farmer’s Almanac has predicted a doozy of a winter for New Jersey, with more snow and blistery winds expected to hit New Jersey than usual. To keep your furry friend safe during this “colder than normal” winter, be sure to follow these tips!

 Be Wary of Your Dog’s Skin

As humans know, the cold weather in New Jersey doesn’t do many favors for the health of our skin. Dry skin is also even more irritated when you go from the cold to your warm, dry home – like a dog that takes frequent walks would. Keep your home humidified and be sure to wash and dry your pet’s feet and stomach after a walk. There are lots of irritants that your pet can pick up on a walk, like ice, salt and de-icing chemicals – and these all dry out skin. Gently wiping these materials off in a humidified environment will sooth your pet’s skin and prevent any chaffing or chapped paws!

Grooming is Important so think about these Tips

The winter is not the best time to rid your pet of a furry coat. Longer coats will provide more warmth and shaving a pet down can make them totally unprepared for the cold. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t trim your long-haired dog, as ice crystals and moisture tend to linger on these pets.

This tip also extends to bath time as well! Washing your pet too often can remove essential oils and contribute to dry and irritated winter skin. Try to limit the amount of baths that your pet takes, and when it does come time for one, try to find a moisturizing shampoo to keep their skin in good health.

Make Small Adjustments for your Pet’s Comfort

As any barefoot walk through your house will tell you, there’s some sneaky spots where cold can creep in that you wouldn’t normally know about! Wherever your pet likes to sleep, make sure that they aren’t in front of a draft or near a cold window. Setting your pet up somewhere warmer will help them sleep better and decrease the likelihood of them catching a winter cold!

Dress For Success

With Daylight Saving Time giving us very little sunlight to work with, you may find yourself walking your dog in the near or total darkness. It’s very important for you and your dog to dress conspicuously, so that cars on the street know where you are. Reflective clothes, leashes, and collars will be your best friends in these situations, as they’ll alert drivers on potentially South New Jersey icy streets of your location.

If your dog has short hair, consider getting them a sweater or coat that covers the base of the tail and the belly. High-necked sweaters or turtlenecks are great for keeping your pooch warm during a walk. Since ice is not only dangerous to walk but irritating to your dog’s paws, consider getting your pet booties for the winter – especially if you have seen them have a bad reaction to de-icing materials on roads and sidewalks before. They’ll definitely take some getting used to, but this protective gear will keep your best friend’s paws warm and protected from any irritants on the ground.

Keep a Close Eye on Your Pets

Believe it or not, winter is actually a very popular time for pets to get lost from their owners. Snow and ice has a way of masking recognizable scents, which is typically what wandering pets rely on to get themselves back home. You should always microchip your pet, as it is the most secure and reliable way to ensure a vet or shelter can ID your furry friend. Also, always keep your dog on a leash in the winter, even if you think they don’t need it – their sense of smell isn’t as reliable in the cold.

Considering South Jersey weather can throw anything at you – often times at a moments notice! –  being well-prepared will benefit you and your pets. Keeping all of these different hazards in your mind can be tough, so get the prep materials ready to mentally prepare yourself! Winter is a lovely and fun time of year for the whole family and, if they get everything they need, pets can join in on the fun, too!