Fun Activities for Your Pet During Cold Weather

A white dog with chin resting stares out of a window to a winter scene white with snow.

Brr! When Michigan’s winter comes, it can be a frosty, sleety mess. Even during those cold months, an active dog or cat will still need to get some exercise and mental enrichment. After all, you know how tired the same-old, same-old can be when you’ve exhausted all of the TV channels and cleaned out all of your closets.


This Season’s Most Amazing Pet Gifts

pet giftsIs your pet the pet who has everything? Does he have more toys in his toybox than your kid does? If so, you are in luck. Each year, manufacturers up the ante on pet games, accessories, treats, and so many more items.

Even if you are a more discerning and frugal pet owner, there are several new items that may pique you and your four-legged’s interests. From boredom busting to snuggly, we’ve sourced some of the most amazing pet gifts, just in time for the holidays.


Dog Treats: The Good and The Ugly

dog treatsEvery pet owner loves seeing their dog’s face light up in anticipation of a treat. It feels so good that we’re tempted to feed them treats all day long. Because we also want our pets to live long, healthy lives, it is best to give them good-quality treats in reasonable quantities.

There are so many treats on the market that your biggest challenge will be choosing the right ones. As you navigate the world of dog treats, here is a little help in determining which treats are good and which are just plain ugly.


Canine Noise Aversion: When the Sounds of Summer Frighten Your Dog

canine noise aversionLoud noises from fireworks, summer thunderstorms, loud TV sounds and boisterous gatherings can be a source of anxiety for pets, as many dog owners know. Dogs that exhibit signs of fear and more extreme reactions to loud noises have Canine Noise Aversion, classified as a canine phobia or anxiety disorder.


Go Ga-Ga For These Holiday Gifts For Pets (And Their Owners!)

When it comes to gift giving, pets rank right up there with the rest of our loved ones as recipients of our goodwill. Shopping for pet lovers can also be fun, but choosing a gift for them, or for our pets, isn’t always simple and the options are nearly endless.

We love animal-related gifts here at Oakland Veterinary Referral Services, and we hope our list of holiday gifts for pets and pet lovers alike will aid you on your shopping adventures this season!


Spring into Action with Pet Safe Cleaning Tips from OVRS!

The warmer temperatures of spring bring thoughts of backyard barbecues, long walks in the park, and spring cleaning! Cleaning of any sort is a special challenge for pet owners, who not only have extra to clean (shedding fur, grimy food bowls, muddy paw prints, and smelly litter boxes for starters), but who also have to keep the safety of their furry friends in mind at the same time.

The health of your sweet pet is our top priority at Oakland Veterinary Referral Services, so consider the following pet safe cleaning tips our gift to you!

The Importance of Pet Safe Cleaning

Using your favorite commercial cleaner in the bathroom or to mop the kitchen floor may not seem like a big deal, but ingredients commonly found in cleaning products, such as alcohol, ammonia, organic solvents, and phenols, can have serious implications for pets. Not only are pets physically smaller than humans, they use their mouths to groom themselves and explore their worlds, making the chances of coming into contact with a cleaning product that much greater.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside: Cold Weather Safety For Pets

OVRS_iStock_000049416582_LargeIt may be an El Nino year, but that doesn’t mean it will be warm in Michigan this winter. Cold weather can pose serious risks to your pet’s health and safety. We offer you a list of practical ways you can keep your pets safe and comfortable all winter long.   

Cold Weather Safety Tips

  • Stay home – Pets are not much safer in a cold car than they are in a warm one. Hypothermia is deadly and pets are just as susceptible to it as humans.
  • Stay in – Dogs and cats should not be outside for prolonged periods in the cold. It’s a myth that animals are more resistant to cold than humans; the reality is that our pets can suffer the harmful effects of cold weather just as easily as we can.
  • If you must leave pets outside – Provide a warm, dry shelter with plenty of cozy bedding. Puppies and older dogs are more sensitive to the cold so it would be better to take them outside only to relieve themselves. Shovel out a spot if there’s deep snow.
  • Paw protection – Be aware of your dog’s paw pads while walking as snow and ice can damage the pads or make walking difficult. Clip the fur between toe pads to reduce the amount of snow collecting between the toes. Or spray the pads with cooking spray just before your walk in very cold weather.


Winter Weather Warnings for Your Pet


Winter has arrived, and with its entrance comes a whole new set of concerns for taking care of your pets.  While it’s true that they wear fur coats all of the time, animals can still suffer from weather-related injury and illness.

It’s best to keep your pet indoors during the coldest part of the year, if possible.  Cats especially can freeze to death, or they are killed while trying to find warmth, such as under the hood of a car.  If you do keep an animal outdoors, be sure that it has adequate shelter out of the wind and moisture.  Also make sure that it has access to fresh, non-frozen water at all times.  Animals that are trying to keep warm outdoors will also need extra calories to do so.

Never shave a pet that will be spending any time outdoors.  Short-haired animals may even benefit from wearing a sweater or coat when outside.  Very young and very old animals will have a lesser ability to keep themselves warm and should spend limited time in the cold.

Inside or out, be sure that your pet has a warm, comfy place to snuggle up.  Tiled or uncarpeted areas are often chilly!  Also, take care around space heaters and fireplaces, which can be a hazard for cold or curious pets.

Wipe your pet down after it comes in from the outdoors to remove any moisture or harmful chemicals, such as antifreeze, or rock salt from its coat and paws.  You should pay close attention to your pet’s paws as they may become chapped or even cut on icy, uneven ground.  Animals that have long hair in between their paw pads may need to have the area trimmed to prevent ice and snow from accumulating.

Overall, it is probably best to keep your pet indoors as much as possible during cold snaps.  Pets can suffer frostbite and hypothermia just as people can.  Long, unsupervised time outdoors increases the likelihood of these things occurring.  Play it safe and keep your pet warm this winter!