I stand by the fact that winter care for pets is beyond sweaters and jackets, here's why!
Winter has just begun, and social media seems to be flooded with cutesy photos of pets and their parents in matching sweaters.
But it makes one wonder: does a sweater actually meet all the needs of a pet in the season of chills and colds?
When questioned about winter care for their babies, several pet parents and vets brought up their pet’s concerns that go deeper than a sweater:
1. Lift Their Paws And Touch Their Nose
Just like humans, pets also face loss of moisture from their surface skin, which leads to often painfully dry-and-cracked noses, paw pads, elbows, and skin generally, often appearing as dandruff. One can identify these by simply checking the paws, nose, and elbows for a dry, cracked feeling and if the coat seems to have a white powder like unwelcome snow.
Brushing is known to stimulate the oil glands in the skin but it doesn’t work fast enough to match the rapid dryness the winter air brings. Add water to the equation as baths, and the dryness only gets worse.
Winter means modulating the pet’s grooming to meet winter’s harsh dryness. This means finding ways to bathe them without water, daily brushing, and moisturizing the skin with pet-friendly creams, lotions, or oils.
The best options for skin care for pets just like humans are organic oils such as virgin unrefined hemp seed oil, cold-pressed virgin argan oil, virgin coconut oil, virgin sweet almond oil, shea butter, or beeswax- pet-safe and easily accessible.
2. Your Pet’s Lethargy Can Be More Than Just Wintry Laziness
During winters, the air pressure drops, which causes tissues to swell and muscles to stiffen — this can be uncomfortable for anyone, and it most certainly is for pets suffering from arthritis.
Arthritis or osteoarthritis is the damage of cartilage found mostly in hip or leg joints due to genetic disposition, old age, and obesity in pets. The joints that bear weight like the hips or hind legs are usually the most affected. Initially uncomfortable, this is a progressive affliction that becomes painful over the years.
You can identify joint pain with symptoms like limping, stiffness, lethargy, frequent slipping while moving about, and licking, chewing, or biting the affected area
While incurable, this is a manageable condition where the pain can be alleviated with the right steps. The right nutrition for dogs and exercises, therapeutic massages, and anti-inflammatory supplements all help in managing this winter affliction.
3. Your Dog Shouldn’t Sound Like A Duck
From sniffles to ear infections to flu, winter is a time for many respiratory problems to emerge. Problems include:
Sniffles, colds, and flu can mean runny noses and eyes, sniffles, sneezes, and congested breathing.
Kennel cough or canine infectious tracheobronchitis can be identified with a chronic, honking, high-pitched cough, (think of a goose or duck honking) and is a severe respiratory infection that needs immediate medical attention, home care, and quarantine.
Ear infections- Caused due to the increased dust and low humidity, especially if the pet has prior allergies.
While these symptoms mean the pet needs an immediate visit to the vet, preventive care would include building the pet’s immunity during winter with the right nutrition, exercise, and supplements.
4. Chicken Soup Is Not Just For Humans
The right food and exercise have always been the first steps toward ensuring optimum health over a long period. And just like us people, winter foods and exercise for pets should also be suitably modulated to meet the season’s needs. For example, introduce immunity-boosting foods like warm bone broth- an easy recipe that can be cooked in a large batch and stored in the freezer for more than a month.
Grandma had a point about chicken soup. Superfoods like bone broths help boost a pet’s immunity internally and also avoid dehydration- a common problem in winter. A typical bone broth contains:
High ratio of amino acids like glycine — great to detoxify the liver.
Collagen — makes the pet’s skin and coats shine.
Minerals like calcium, magnesium, silicon, sulfur, and phosphorus — all play a positive role in the pet’s health (heart, nervous system, sleep, hydration & muscle).
Glucosamine and chondroitin — are anti-inflammatory elements that are excellent for joint pain relief.
Essential nutrients to boost the pet’s immunity.
5. Don't Feel Guilty When You Skip A Cold Morning Walk
Winter is a season known for socially-approved laziness- why step outside in the cold for a walk when one can snuggle in a cozy, warm blanket for fifteen more minutes?
But seasonal laziness cannot come between a pet and its overall health- one only needs to change their methods slightly.
Play indoors — Clear a space and throw a ball or wand around for the pet. A carpet, jute, or grass mat would ensure less slipping and a better grip for the paws.
Soak in the sun — Step outside in the wintry afternoons for a warm, leisurely walk or stroll. When was the last time you visited the nearby playground?
Practice, practice, practice — Sit in the comfort of your chair and repeat your pet’s obedience training- sit, stand, roll over, fetch, retrieve. These are great ways to keep your pet engaged physically and mentally.
Brain games — Fight the mental boredom with toys that will keep the pet engaged for hours. Treat-rewarding toys like a peanut butter-filled Kong are an excellent option.
Coming back to the matter of pet sweaters and jackets, pet parents remain divided based on the pet’s individual preference- some pets like it and snuggle harder whereas some just find it too itchy and uncomfortable.
But the length and breadth of this article (if you’re still reading) just goes to show that a pet’s winter care in India is not as simple as slipping on a sweater over a pet’s head. It’s a season that demands its own nutrition, health & wellness, grooming, and physical activity for pets. Which shouldn’t be so surprising- is your winter care restricted to just a sweater?
Disclaimer: Always check with your vet for a deeper diagnosis or consult our expert at +91 8431620000.
Thank you for sticking with us. We hope you now know that winter care for pets means going beyond sweaters.
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