Pets and their owners share many things in common, including susceptibility to cold weather consequences. Dry skin and frostbite are two things owners should be aware of, for both themselves and their pets. These, along with most winter time aliments, can be prevented with a little extra attention and good nutrition. For dogs and humans alike, foods rich in omega fatty acids are the best way to prevent flaky skin and brittle hair. Below are more seasonal facts and nutritional tips that will help in keeping pets comfortable and safe in the snow and indoors.
Outdoor pets have higher energy requirements during the winter months. Growing thicker fur to keep their body temperature high, outdoor pets spend any extra energy they may have just staying warm. As a result, they may need a slightly higher calorie intake during colder weather than during warmer months. Adding a little more food to their regular diet, especially meat and fattier cuts, will help outdoor pets meet their extra energy needs.
However, indoor pets require fewer calories during the cold season. They usually become more lethargic, spending most of their time inside with the rest of the family. During the holidays, these pets are prone to gaining weight along with everybody else indoors. Restricting their diet with smaller portions or even low-calorie foods is the best way to help keep them healthy and acknowledge their seasonal needs.
The most important step for any owner during the winter months is to be attentive to their pets needs. Walks and time spent outside may need to be shortened in order to keep pets comfortable. Discomfort from cold temperatures may cause unnecessary stress. This is especially true of smaller pets, short-haired breeds and older dogs. Highly susceptible to colder temperatures, owners should watch their pets for shaking and other signs of chill. Pet winter wear is a good way to help supplement and conserve their natural heat. Coats, socks and boots are all available to help pets cope with winter weather. Anti-arthritic medicine is also a good way to help older pets stay comfortable while playing in the snow.
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