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How to care for your pet in winter

Oct 29, 2016 | Lifestyles

(Welcome to the weekly pet column of Pet Connection Programs Inc. of Marilla, N.Y. A new article is posted each week, so be sure to check back on a regular basis!)

The upcoming winter can affect our pets the same ways it affects us, so it’s important to consider the well-being of our furry family members throughout the season. Sure, bundling Milo up in a doggy parka might make for an adorable Instagram post, but there’s a lot more you can do to maintain your pet’s health during the winter months. Here are some tips:

Help him counter the elements. Your pet’s fur is his best defense against the cold dry air. Keeping his coat healthy will go a long way in protecting him from winter’s bite.

Fortunately, some of the same methods you use to keep your skin and hair healthy can help your pet, too. Both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids help nourish the skin and coat. If your pet is scratching more than usual or his fur is visibly dry and dull, he may not be getting enough fatty acids from his diet and a supplement formulated for pets may be a good idea.

The salt and other chemicals commonly used to treat roads and sidewalks during the snowy months can also cause the skin on your pet’s paws to become dry and itchy and even begin to crack. A daily dose of omega-3 will go help with this as well.

You may also want to consider biotin, a natural health product for pets that can help strengthen keratin in skin and fur. Part of the B-complex vitamins essential for many body systems, biotin has been shown to be particularly good at supporting healthy and luxurious fur.

Reevaluate her diet. It’s always important for dogs to get daily exercise so unless there’s extreme weather, don’t let a little bit of cold stop you from going for a walk.

Remember that just like humans, dogs bodies burn more calories and require more energy to keep warm during winter so consider increasing your pup’s food intake a bit. Some processed pet foods can contain allergens that can contribute to skin problems and obesity.

Instead try exploring whole food options at your local natural health store to find pet foods made with quality ingredients. While there, inquire about a quality multivitamin that can help your pet get some of the nutrients that may be missing from her diet. Although these supplements may sound familiar, keep in mind that your daily dose is optimized for humans so look for products specifically formulated for pets.
— News Canada

(For more information on pets and animal adoption, please visit www.petconnectionprogramsinc.com. Or, visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/PetConnectionProgramsinc. Located in Marilla, N.Y., Pet Connection Programs Inc. is a nonprofit maternity and special care shelter founded in 1984.)

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