Winter in Chicago is cold — really cold. Remember the infamous polar vortex? Us humans aren’t the only ones who have to worry about staying warm in the wintertime — our pets aren’t equipped to handle below-freezing temperatures, either. As pet parents ourselves, we know you want to do everything in your power to help your pet stay happy and healthy. So, we researched the best ways to keep your pets safe in cold weather, and we’re sharing them below.
The easiest way to protect your pets (and yourself) from the frigid cold is to simply stay inside your apartment. If you don’t have a reason to venture out into the cold, just skip it. When temperatures drop, dog owners should take their pups out to do their business, then head back indoors. (PPM’s private pet parks make this extra convenient.)
Protect Their Paws
When you take your pup outside, be mindful of where they step. The salt that’s used to rid sidewalks and streets of slippery ice is toxic and can be dangerous to dogs. Be sure to thoroughly wipe your pooch’s paws once you bring them back inside. Warming up your pup’s paws with a warm towel is also recommended, as the cold air can cause damage to the soft pads on their feet.
Buy Pet Outerwear
Your pets may be fluffy, but during the winter months, they could use some extra insulation. Pet jackets aren’t just adorable — they’re practical, too. Pet outwear provides an additional layer of warmth during cold weather that will help to keep your pet nice and toasty. It’s an especially good idea for small dogs who don’t have a lot of body fat or fur to naturally keep them warm. Check out some options here from Chewy.com.
Provide a Cozy Spot
Speaking of extra warmth, pets love blankets just as much as we do in the wintertime. Make sure your fur-babies have a comfortable, toasty spot to rest. Offer your pet extra blankets or sheets, make yourself some tea, and settle in for some cozy time at home.
Let Their Fur Grow
If you normally shave or groom or pet’s fur to keep it under control, now is the time to take a break. Pets naturally grow long fur to keep themselves warm during cold weather, so it’s best to let nature do its thing. Trimming the excess fur might help you from having to do deal with excessive fur, but it won’t help your pets stay warm during cold weather.
Increase Their Food Intake
Another way to naturally help your pet stay warm in the winter is to increase their food intake. When it’s cold outside, cats and dogs have to burn more calories to stay warm (the same goes for us humans). In the wild, animals gain a little weight in the winter, which helps protect them from the dangers of cold weather. While you shouldn’t allow your cat or dog to become overweight, a little extra food will go a long way in the winter.