Whether you and your pet are outside enjoying the snow or staying warm and cozy inside, here are some tips for the winter season. Repeatedly coming out of the cold into the dry heat can cause itchy, flaking skin. Bathe your pets as little as possible during cold spells. Washing too often can remove essential oils which help keep skin in good condition. If your pet must be bathed, ask your vet to recommend a moisturizing shampoo and/or rinse. When you come home from a walk wash and dry your dog’s feet to remove ice, salt and chemicals from the roads and sidewalks—and check for cracks in paw pads or redness between the toes. You may be able to reduce the chance of iceball accumulation by clipping the hair between your dog’s toes. Pets that are much less active during the winter months may need to have their food cut down a bit to avoid putting on too much weight. Cold weather also brings the risks of severe winter weather, blizzards and power outages. Prepare a disaster/emergency kit, and include your pet in your plans. Have enough food, water and medicine on hand to get through at least 5 days. Be careful when starting your car during the cold weather. Cats that are outside may seek out the warmth of your car engine or crouch in the wheel well. Honking the horn or banging on the hood will scare them out before they get run over. Small pets such as rabbits and guinea pigs that live inside for the winter are very susceptible to cold drafts. Make sure they are kept in an area with a constant temperature. We hope these tips are helpful and you and your pet enjoy the winter wonderland of Vermont!