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Welcome to fall and winter!

Whenever we need to put on the cold weather gear, we need to consider our pets' warmth, too. For you snow dogs out there that dream of snowy days, this is your time of year! For the rest of our pets that have short haired coats, and especially the tiny kids, a warm winter coat is essential for extended trips outside.

Young puppies this time of year should still be potty-trained outside. You won't want them trained to pads or papers and then try to re-train them later.

Remember the galoshes! Our pets' feet are able to withstand a lot, but they can become irritated and even frostbitten if we're not careful. Make sure to clean out any balls of ice or snow that may get up between the toes. Salted walkways can also be irritating, and when your pet licks his or her feet, can cause salt poisoning. If you'll be doing a lot of walking in the snow or icy surfaces, booties to protect feet and help traction may be a good idea.

A warm den to snuggle up in is important for our full time outdoor pets. A foam container with bedding works well for a small animal and there are also a number of dog houses in any style to choose from. Remember not to make it too big. Unless you will be heating it, the goal of these little dens is to be a small, insulated, protected place that is often heated by your pet's own body heat.

Keeping the water fresh and not iced is key. Food is a little trickier. If your pet is outside full time, you'll need to give a little more food, because they need the extra energy in keeping warm. If your pet goes into semi-hibernation during winter, less food is important to keep them at a healthy weight. "Winter weight" is not healthy and can lead to many other health problems!

Lastly, if your bones are creaking in the cold weather, don't forget that your senior pets' are probably, too! Arthritis is worse in wet and cold weather. Don't wait for limping, stiffness, and singing the blues. Talk to usabout how to best manage your pet's joint comfort.

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