Windsor has four very distinct seasons. Each one of them brings its own challenges and opportunities for pet owners. As a responsible pet owner, caring for your cat or dog year-round is important, especially in climates as variable as ours.
Extreme heat can put a health and safety strain on your pet, making it necessary to adjust their care schedule during the season and the year.
In this article we will go over some seasonal pet care tips to guide you in keeping your pet safe and healthy in Windsor’s weather.
Winter Pet Tips
Winter weather is dangerous for pets as for any other animal. Pet owners are responsible for ensuring the protection and care of their cats and dogs. Winter is one of the seasons where it is vital to take extra care of your pets.
Here are some important tips that will help you take better care of your pet.
Grooming and Pet Coats
- Leave your pets’ coats a little longer during the winter season. This will provide them with more warmth. Avoid giving them a summer “short cut” during the freezing weather months.
- If you have a short-haired breed, you can consider getting them a coat or sweater that covers them from neck to tail and around the tummy area to help them stay warm.
Pet Hydration and Nutrition
- You can offer your pets a little extra food during the winter period. The temperature difference makes them burn extra energy just trying to stay warm.
- In the winter you can use plastic bowls instead of metal ones to prevent your pet’s tongue from sticking to the metal. Though it is even better to not to feed them out in the open.
- It is important to make it a routine to check your pet’s water dish and ensure their water is fresh. Another option is to purchase a heated water bowl for outdoor use.
Shelter and Environment
- Whenever possible, it is best to keep pets protected inside with your family during the winter. Pet cats should under no circumstance be left outdoors unsupervised. This is the case even if they roam outside during other warmer seasons. Yes, a dog is always happy when taken out frequently for walks and exercise, but they should stay inside the rest of the time.
- If your pet goes out, make sure they have a dry, draft-free shelter that is large enough for them to sit and lie down in. It should also be small enough to retain their body heat. Shelter should be raised from the ground and with a door flap to keep out drafts and dry. Comfortable bedding is especially important. The doorway should be waterproof or heavy plastic.
- For feral and stray cats living in cold climates, like Windsor, winter shelter is vitally important. There are do-it-yourself shelter options available to help cats like these survive despite the low temperatures.
Paw and Skin Care
- Protect your pet’s paws and other cat or dog paws from ice, salt, and chemicals by using pet-friendly ice melt products and cleaning their paws after walks.
- Keep your home humidified and towel dry your pets as soon as they come inside. Pay extra attention to their paws and in-between the toes. This will help your pet avoid itchy and flaking skin.
Spring Pet Care
Yes, Spring is a beautiful season, but it can also offer some challenges to our furry friends. Here are some essential spring pet care tips that’ll help your cat and dog stay safe and healthy:
- Keep your pet on parasite preventives all year long. This ensures there are no gaps in protection against fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes.
- Administer tick, worm, and flea treatments to your pets preventively during the spring when these pests start their activity.
- Ensure your pet is on year-round heartworm preventive medication. This will protect them from heartworm disease, which is a mosquito-borne sickness.
- Stay in contact with your veterinarian and schedule regular screenings to detect and treat any parasite infestations or diseases early on.
- Keep cleaning products out of reach of your pets and ensure that any chemicals or cleaning agents are stored safely.
- Keep your pet out of any room where cleaning supplies are used or kept. While some household cleaners may only produce moderate indigestion, others are a serious health risk
Spring Plants and Flowers
- Keep in mind that there are plants and flowers that are toxic to your pet, such as lilies, azaleas, rhododendrons, and daffodils.
- Keep your pets away from fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides, which can be harmful if ingested, inhaled or by contact, depending on the product.
Exercise and Play
- Make sure your pets are up to date on their vaccinations, especially against Lyme disease.
- When exercising your pets, take care of things like hot pavement and providing plenty of water.
Summer Care for Pets
Summertime is when pets enjoy the outdoors the most, but it is important to always take care of them and monitor their well-being in the heat. Here are some great summer pet care tips to make sure your dogs or cats stay safe and healthy.
Hydration and Shade
- Provide fresh, clean water for your pets, especially during hot and humid weather.
- Ensure they have access to shade to escape the sun’s heat and avoid over-exercising them in elevated temperatures.
Avoid The Heat
- Be aware of overheating symptoms in pets, such as excessive panting, difficulty breathing, and weakness.
- Use air conditioning, fans, cooling pads or a kiddie pool if your pet needs to cool down.
- While dogs are more likely to suffer from it, cats may also get heat stroke if they are left out in the sun or in a stuffy, hot room.
- Never leave your pet in a parked vehicle. Temperatures can quickly rise to dangerous levels. On a scorching summer day, the inside of your car heats very quickly. They may quickly rise above 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) in only 10 minutes, even with the windows partly open and parked in the shade. As much as 49°C can be reached in under half an hour. Even more so on days that are hot. A dog’s brain can only tolerate temperatures of 41°C for a brief period before suffering permanent damage or more severe outcomes.
- If you think your pet is suffering from heat stroke, get them out of the sun as soon as possible; next, use cool (not cold) water and moist cloths to bring their temperature down. If your pet can drink, let them. Time is of the essence when it comes to veterinary care and pets experiencing heat stroke. Act immediately, hesitation might result in irreparable organ damage or even death.
- Apply pet-safe sunscreen to your pet’s exposed areas, such as the tips of the ears, nose, and belly, to prevent sunburn.
- Avoid shaving your pet’s fur too short. It provides protection against sunburn and overheating.
Exercise and Play
- Schedule outdoor activities during the cooler moments of the day to prevent heat-related issues.
- While exercising, remember to take pauses and pay attention to your pet’s respiration. Take a break if your pet is making unusual noises or is panting heavily. Particularly with snub-nose dogs, you may need to cut down on the length of time spent exercising.
- Visit the vet for a spring or early-summer checkup to ensure your pet is in good health.
- Discuss the best pest preventives with your vet to protect your pets against fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes.
Autumn Pet Care
As the leaves change and the air cools down, it is important to ensure that your pets are safe and healthy during the autumn season. Here are some valuable pet care tips to help pet parents during this time of year.
Temperature and Visibility
- Keep your pet warm and visible during walks by using reflective gear, especially as days start to get shorter.
- Be mindful of rapid temperature drops and make sure your pet’s body temperature remains stable and comfortable.
Preventative Care and Hazards
- Stay up to date with preventative care, including flea, tick, and heartworm prevention. These pests are still active in autumn.
- As the temperature falls, ticks do not stop being active. Because they do best in colder weather, adult blacklegged ticks are most active in the autumn. Lyme disease is among the many diseases that ticks transmit. To learn more about pet tick prevention, talk with our vets.
- Just as with humans, pets are not immune to seasonal allergies. Talk to our vets for advice and treatment choices if you notice symptoms like roughhousing, biting on feet, extreme itching, or rubbing their face.
Outdoor Time and Exercise
- Avoid keeping your pets outdoors for too long, especially as temperatures go down.
- Wild animals ramp up their activity levels in the autumn. When taking your dog outside, be sure to keep a close eye on them to avoid any dangers
- Be mindful of snakes, racoons and other potential outdoor hazards as animals prepare for winter hibernation.
By following these autumn pet care tips, you can help ensure that your pets stay safe, healthy, and happy during this beautiful and colourful season.
Taking care of your pet is a year-round responsibility. During the summer months, it is important to keep your pet cool and hydrated. Avoid leaving your pet in parked cars, as the temperature inside can quickly rise to dangerous levels. In the winter, keep your pet warm and dry by providing them with shelter and warm bedding. Avoid leaving them outside for extended periods of time, and if you must, make sure they have access to non-frozen water and a warm shelter.
It is also important to be aware of your pet’s individual needs and limitations. Some breeds are more susceptible to heat stroke or wintry weather than others. Additionally, older pets or those with health conditions may require extra care during extreme temperatures.
By following these seasonal pet care tips, you can help ensure that your pet stays safe and healthy throughout the year in Windsor’s climate.