Tips to protect and care for pets in winter

Just as human beings often become more prone to viral infections, such as colds, allergies and colds during the winter months, your pet is also more susceptible at this time.

So it is a time when pets demand extra care. Both dogs and cats can get the flu, and the chances increase, with the lowest humidity in the cold season.

In addition, the symptoms of a flu that strikes a pet are very similar to that of humans. “Loss of appetite, prostration, the snout is always wet, nasal discharge, coughing, sneezing are all very common, which, consequently, worsen to a feverish state”, explains Camila Conte, veterinarian.

But some precautions can help, “we must always keep the animal hydrated and provide the necessary feed according to the weight, provide houses or shelters, avoid exposure to the cold and long walks during the walk”, advises the professional. Does your pet spend most of the time in the yard? Well, in that case, it is advisable to make the effort to redouble this care on cold days.

If the animal catches a cold it is important to maintain attention, as there is a risk of complications from the flu, in dogs can develop infectious canine tracheobronchitis, known as “kennel cough”, which can be transmitted to other dogs.

In cats the flu is known as “Feline rhinotracheitis, caused by the feline herpes virus, they can also be carriers and spread the disease to other cats, if the disease is not treated properly there is a risk of pneumonia.

Keeping up with the flu vaccine is essential for the health of pets, especially in brachycephalic dogs (those with a flat snout), such as; English bulldog, French bulldog, Pug, “who are predisposed to respiratory problems and also in animals that are immunosuppressed”, warns the veterinarian.

Animals have a higher tolerance to cold than we humans, the coat alone holds body temperature. But those who believe that because they have hair, dogs and cats are not cold in winter are mistaken.

Animals with shorter coats end up feeling cold, so it is best to invest in warmer beds or even clothes. The use of Igloo-type dog houses can be an option, “they feel protected and comfortable”, considers Camila Conte.

Your pet’s body fat is also an essential factor in protecting it from the cold and maintaining its body temperature during the winter months.

But, according to the veterinarian, there is no need to increase the supply of food for the animal, because “animals at this time of year end up exercising less, which reduces their caloric loss and consequently ends up having a gain in weight gain”, explains Conte.

To prolong satiety in the pet, the daily amount of feed can be distributed throughout the day in three portions. “Dogs or cats that end up having a more active life, it is already recommended to increase feed consumption by 20% due to their caloric loss, but, always with caution”, suggests the professional.

Regarding the frequency of baths, the same can be maintained, but with caution, provided that with warm water and complete drying of the animal. Because if the pet is not completely dry, chances are he will develop a dermatitis (skin problem) or trigger some respiratory disease.

It is also advisable to use shampoos that increase the pet’s skin barrier, if possible also to be carried out on the sunniest days because of the humid weather.

The grooming habits of pets can also be maintained, due to the winter in addition to the common growth of hair, the animal ends up with a little more dry skin. “This can cause hair blurring, smother the skin, facilitating the appearance of other diseases”, explains the veterinarian.

The ideal is not to make a shear too low, “hit the ends of the hair and make a hygienic shear”, advises Conte. Cuts like ‘baby grooming’ are best indicated in the winter, where hair is removed, but not completely.

Bearing in mind that if your pet has symptoms of cough, discharge or difficulty breathing, do not hesitate to take him to the veterinarian, a trained professional who will be able to make a complete history and diagnosis of the animal giving the necessary treatment and support.