Like much of the United States, we enjoy four distinct seasons here in Cleveland; rainy springs, warm summers, crisp autumns, and snowy winters. While we are fortunate to not experience a lot of the extreme weather dangers typically seen in other parts of the country, Cleveland residents (and their pets) must contend with a longer-than-average winter, typically November-April.
With a colder and snowier winter already forecasted for Northeast Ohio, it’s time to start making plans to keep you and your pet active and engaged during the coldest months. West Park Animal Hospital has put together a guide aimed at helping you and your pets not only survive but also thrive this winter in Cleveland.
1. Winter in Cleveland Can Be Fun!
It’s a rare dog who doesn’t love to play in the snow, so don’t be afraid to bundle up your pooch for a snowy walk around the lake or romp in the yard. Social dogs will be happy to learn that many of Cleveland’s dog parks remain open year-round. This means canine friends can still get together to play, even when the white fluffy stuff is on the ground!
2. Winter in Cleveland Can Be Cold!
Playing outside is fun and necessary, but keeping winter pet safety in mind is a must in our cold climate:
Know the signs of hypothermia, and keep pets protected with a coat or sweater while outdoors.
Your pet’s paws are especially vulnerable to winter wear and tear from snow, ice, and toxic road salt. Wash and dry your pet’s paws each time he or she comes indoors, and consider purchasing a set of booties for added protection.
Keeping your pet leashed when out and about will help keep him or her away from winter hazards, such as antifreeze and partially frozen lakes, ponds, and rivers.
3. Good News for Outdoor Pets
Cold weather brings with it an increase in animal neglect situations here in Cleveland, and many outdoor pets suffer needlessly each year. City ordinance 603.091, effective December 2014, clearly spells out the definitions of adequate shelter and provisions for outdoor pets. Pet owners in violation of the ordinance face hefty fines and even jail time.
Our tip: If it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for your pets. Bring them inside when temperatures fall below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
4. Indoor Activities for Cleveland Pets
Winter weight gain is a big concern for pets, but sometimes it’s simply too cold to go outside for exercise. Fortunately, Cleveland boasts numerous indoor dog facilities, such as Thank Dog Bootcamp, where your dog can exercise and play with you and other dogs.
Signing your dog up for a training or agility class is another great way to burn off steam indoors. North Coast Dogs and The Dog Class offer a variety of fun and challenging programs for dogs of all abilities.
5. Getting Out of Town
If you’re planning on traveling with your pet this season, make sure to pack with his or her winter safety needs in mind. Load up on extra blankets, fresh water, your dog’s sweater or coat, and a towel to wipe off paws after a romp in the snow. And, don’t forget your pet first aid kit!
As always, if you have any questions or concerns about your pet’s health and safety this winter, or want to make sure he or she is up-to-date on vaccines and parasite preventatives, don’t hesitate to contact the team at West Park Animal Hospital.
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