Keeping Your Pets Safe During the Cold Winter Months

Local Businesses are Seeing an Increase in Customers Preparing Their Animals

Mild temperatures are blanketing the Northland this fall, but it isn’t stopping many Northlanders from preparing for the frigid cold ahead of time.

For those of you with animals, it’s important to remind ourselves they can’t speak up, and prepare like humans do.

In this week’s Animal Answers, we’re talking winter pet care.

“Our friends when they go outside, they are cold just like we are depending on what kind of dog you have,” said Andrea Schokker, Owner of Canal Bark.

For Northland pets, winter weather can mean potential danger.

“A friend like Karma here who is a Ferro hound is use to very warm weather and I have to make sure she has her coat on when it’s cold out,” said Schokker.

It’s a quick little reminder, of just zipping up the coat before taking the fur kids out into the chilly weather.

“Other dogs that don’t have as much coat can get chilled pretty quickly. She even has really thin ears, and so I have to watch for frostbite if she’s going out when it’s in our negative temperatures,” said Schokker.

“If it’s really windy or rainy and there is a huge draft that can cool them off very quickly,” said Dr. Justin Dahl, Owner of Happy Tails Animal Hospital in Superior.

Local veterinarians say similar to summer months, winter comes with its own list of reasons to worry.

“Tinsel, garland, electrical cords; these are great things that cats, kittens and puppies can chew on and swallow,” said Dahl.

Holiday hazards, illuminating your house, calling for constant caution.

“It’s just like human children; it’s very easy to spread a lot of these cold and flu bugs amongst dogs,” said Dahl.

Family gatherings with multiple pets involved could result in a case of the kennel cough, or upset bellies.

“It’s not a fun situation to be in when we have to tell the owner, your dog or your cat has eaten a bunch of tinsel and now it needs emergency surgery,” said Dahl.

“We actually use a pet safe de-ice on the front walk because we want to have our customers and our pets be safe when they come in,” said Schokker.

Local businesses such as Canal Bark in Duluth are already seeing an increase in business with items like vests, coats, and ice melts that are pet friendly.

“With older dogs, remember that just like us, if they slip on the ice it’s going to be hard on their hips and joints,” said Schokker.

Experts recommend being patient with older animals, give them time, and if you can, keep them off the ice. Indoor play spaces could be your best bet.

“We do get more business in the wintertime looking at the day camps and having some fun playtime just to burn off some energy,” said Schokker.

Staff at Canal Bark want to remind pet owners to make sure animals always have a fresh, unfrozen source of water.

Also, different types of booties and lotions are available to make sure de-ice chemicals are removed from bellies and paws.

From now through December 6, all Ruffwear gear sold at Canal Bark is 25 percent off, with the sale including coats and booties.

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