Feb. 11, 2009 -- Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow a little more than a week ago, so now there's five more weeks of winter to contend with for you and your pets.
Veterinarian Dr. Marty Becker of Twin Falls, Idaho, has some indoor and outdoor tips and pet products to keep your dogs and cats safe and warm for the rest of the winter.
Pet Beds and Heating
It's OK to turn down the thermostat to save on heating costs but you can make things more comfortable for your pets with beds and heating pads. There are many choices for both beds and heat pads. Two of them are:
Heated Pet Bed from Petmate: www.petmate.com
Snuggle Safe Microwaveable Heat Pad: from amazon.com
Pet clothing isn't silly at all. Small dogs, older dogs and greyhounds and their relations like whippets benefit from pet apparel. Check pet retailers for a wide selection. Boots can protect pet paws from de-icing chemicals and make post-walk, cleanup easier.
Eco-Friendly Dog Sweater by West Paw Design: www.westpawdesign.com
Heated Dog Coat by Fashion Pet: www.jbpet.com
Winter Paw Care
Becker recommends either putting doggie boots on pets or putting a thin film of Vaseline on paws to protect them from ice and salt. You should also keep the hair trimmed between the toes to prevent ice balls from building up. Lastly, if you don't have boots on your dogs, keep a shallow dish of water and a towel just inside the door so that when they come in from their walk you can just dip their paws in the water and towel dry.
SafePaw De-Icer: www.safepaw.com
Antifreeze drips out of the car and accumulates in driveways and on garage floors and it's poisonous to your pet. It tastes good and it's sweet, so it appeals to cats and dogs. But it can be deadly.
Sierra Pet Friendly Antifreeze: www.sierraantifreeze.com
Look Out for Other Pets
Thump the hood before starting your car. Your neighbor's cat may be snuggled against the engine block and can be hurt or killed when you start the car. Also, be a good pet neighbor by either using a pet-friendly brand of antifreeze or making sure you clean up any spills in your driveway. Make sure you don't leave pets unattended in cars or trucks; they can die from the cold.