How to keep your pet healthy and happy during the short, dark days of the season

It’s Thanksgiving, a time to give special thanks to our wonderful furry friends.  What better way than to think of ways to keep them healthy and happy during the season?

Tip #1: Keep pets safe and secure during  those shorter autumn and winter days

Many of us will have to walk our dogs in the darkness for the next few months, and reduced light makes it more challenging for drivers to see animals (and people) in driveways, sidewalks, and roads.

If you walk your dog or if you have an outdoor cat:

  • Supervise as much as possible and exercise control by using a leash and collar or chest harness; those long, retractable leashes can make it pretty tough to stay in command, so you might want to avoid them.
  • Keep pets confined to a closed space so they can’t sneak out through opened doors if you are cleaning up after a storm. Outdoors pets love to roam and they just won’t understand how unsafe it is after a major storm.
  • Wear bright, easy-to-see clothing when walking your dog.
  • Use tags and microchips–everything possible to ensure their safe return if they do get lost.
  • This might also be a good time to teach your dog and cat the “come” obedience command if you haven’t already.  Yes, cats are trainable, too!  An added benefit is that even the shortest training session requires a lot of focus from your pet–so it will really exercise his or her brain and tire him or her out.

If you have any questions, talk to a professional dog trainer; your vet can make a recommendation.

Tip #2: Keep pets confined indoors while you are doing your yard work. 

One of my happiest memories was jumping into a pile of raked leaves (which, needless to say, vexed my father no end). It’s not all good, though, because piles of moist leaves can harbor bacteria and fungus–and that can be toxic to animals if they swallow/eat any of those substances from licking the ground or their paws.

You might burn leaves as part of your fall clean-up, but smoke and plant oils can irritate your pet’s eyes, nose, throat, lungs, and skin.

All animals can be started by noises, but cats get especially spooked, so be mindful if you’re using leaf blowers or mowers and other yard gadgets.

Tip#3:  The days are shorter, but don’t skimp on exercise.

  • True, they won’t be able to go out as much, so compensate with some extra play to keep both their minds and body fit.  If you have a dog, you may want to invest in a dogwalker or have a trusted friend or family member take them out every day. If you have a cat, make sure they can access a sunny (but closed!) window.  Remember, animals need sunshine, too!


About Irene:

Irene Ross is a certified nutrition and health coach, a wellness pro for both the 2-legged and 4-legged.

For the 4-legged, she writes frequently on the topics of pet wellness.

For the 2-legged, she helps people get off the diet roller coaster–to lose the weight, keep it off and love their healthy and happy bodies so their “fabulousness” shine.

“Healthy weight is a lot more about simply walking away with a list of so-called good foods and bad foods. It’s about a lot of things. Like learning how to balance blood sugar and knowing about the connection between hormones and processed foods and the adrenals and thyroid–among other things. And they need to know that everything feeds us; for instance, career, relationships, self-care, because if just one thing is out of balance they’ll always be, well, hungry.”

To learn more about Irene:

She is author of the forthcoming book, 25 Ways to Fire Up Your Day: Increase Energy, Get More Done in Less Time, Balance Your Life.

Her twice-monthly, free newsletter, “Power Wellness,” is full of tips, recipes and information for healthy nutrition and lifestyle.  To subscribe, click here.


13 thoughts on “How to keep your pet healthy and happy during the short, dark days of the season

  1. Pingback: SEASONAL SAFETY TIPS FOR YOUR PET | furryfriendshavefun | Nutrition For Pets

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  4. Cold winter weather may mean that you need to think about how to look after your pets health. While the holidays are filled with traditional foods those same foods can cause harm to pets if ingested. This Is really very nice post indeed, Thanks for sharing

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