Animals

How to Ease Scratching, Avoid Sidewalk Salt, and Other Winter Pet Problems

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Cold weather and dry air can be hard on our fur babies. To the rescue: natural solutions guaranteed to make life easier for your four-legged pet and YOU!

Stop static shocks with strategic surfaces.

Brushing your pet in the winter can be a shocking experience for both of you, thanks to dry indoor air. To prevent getting zapped, avoid grooming your buddy on synthetic surfaces, like wall-to-wall carpeting, which hold on to static. Instead, groom pets while they’re standing or lounging on a hardwood floor, natural-fiber rug or cotton towel.

Outsmart accidents with petroleum jelly.

Road salt can be rough on your pet’s paws, making him balk at his walk. To prevent accidents indoors, apply a protective layer of petroleum jelly to his paw pads. Once back from your walk, wipe his paws with a warm cloth, then apply another thin layer of the ointment to ward off dryness.

Kitty-proof the keyboard with a hand towel.

Seems like every time you sit down to your computer, Kitty tries to monopolize your keyboard. She’s drawn to both your presence and the warmth of your hardware. Luckily, keeping her off is easy: Just toss a hand towel or T-shirt in your hamper for a day, then tuck it into a small box on your desk next to your computer. Attracted to your scent, your cat will snuggle right in.

Curb hair balls with butter.

Ack! Dry indoor air means your cat is constantly hacking up hair balls. Luckily, you can outsmart the mess with this simple trick: Next time you see her grooming, dab a pea-size amount of softened butter on the side of your sweetie’s paw, which she will lick off during her cleaning session. Once ingested, the butter will help hair easily glide through your pet’s digestive tract so she won’t hack up any more hair balls-and you won’t have to clean up after her!

Silence noisy scratching with an oil.

Going from the cold to the heat and back again has given your pet itchy skin. To ease his discomfort, try supplementing his diet with evening primrose oil. The oil is high in gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), a lack of which studies have associated with dry skin in animals. Simply give the vet-recommended dosage (one 500 mg. capsule of evening primrose oil per every 20 pounds of the dog’s weight) with his food once a day. The oil will restore his skin’s moisture barrier to fend off itchy skin.

This story originally appeared in our print magazine.

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