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December 18, 2017

Last week, temperatures dropped dramatically.  So much so that Montgomery County issued a Hypothermia Alert for people and for pets.  This alert came with an enforcement of an Executive Regulation where from 10 PM to 10 AM, no dog was allowed to be outside unattended.  The penalty for this violation was a $500 fine!   It is easy for us to forget that dogs and cats are capable of getting hypothermia, even though they have fur  Do the right thing and bring your pet inside and follow these tips on proper pet care for the winter.

  • Keep your home humidified and use a towel to dry your pet off as soon they come inside.  Repeatedly coming out of the cold into the dry heat of your home can cause itchy, flaking skin.


  • Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter.  A longer coat will provide more warmth.  If your dog has long hair, simply trim them to the minimize clinging ice or snow balls.  If your dog has short hair, consider purchasing them a sweater or coat that covers their stomach, neck and back.

  • Wash and dry your pet’s feet and stomach.  If you can, bring a towel with you on long walks to clean off irritated paws.  The cold mixed with chemicals used to treat roads and sidewalks can irritate and dry out paws and pads of your pet.  You should also frequently check for cracked paw pads or redness between toes.  Sometimes massaging petroleum jelly on their pads before and after walks help keep them moisturized and protected.

  • Bathe your pets as little as possible during cold spells.  Washing too often can remove essential oils and increase chances of developing dry, flaky skin.  If your dog must be bathed, ask your vet to recommend a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner.

  • Feed your pet a little bit more during the cold weather months.  Pets burn a little extra energy trying to stay warm in the winter.  Giving them a few extra calories and make sure they have plenty of water to drink.  This will help keep them well-hydrated and their skin less dry.

  • Give them a bed to sleep on.  Dog beds can be pretty pricey, however make sure your companion has a warm place to sleep that is off the floor and away from all drafts.  A cozy bed, a warm blanket or even a pillow will help them.

  • If it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet.  If your pet is left outdoors and its really cold, they can freeze, become disoriented, or severely injured.  So, bring them inside!  Also, do not leave them in the car alone during cold months, vehicles act as refrigerators that hold in the cold and cause animals to freeze to death. 

Caring for your pet in the winter is a multi-pronged effort that will require thought, and preparation.  A pet is a member of the family and you have to take care of them.  Hopefully these tips will help you plan for your pet this winter.  Please share this with friends, family, and colleagues.  Comment below with your own winter tips!

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