It’s October, meaning fall is no longer just a red-gold-yellow blur on the horizon: it’s here! Chunky sweaters, pumpkin spice everything, and Halloween decorations abound. Here at kin+kind, we’re cozying up. Let’s talk blankets and candles and steaming hot beverages. But wait - what about your pet? As you’re getting ready to nest this autumn and winter, don’t forget about your dogs and cats. Here’s how you can make the seasonal transition a little easier on them (and on yourself).
Indoor Air Quality
Is it stuffy in here, or is it just me? Having pets inevitably affects your indoor air quality, especially in the cold months when you keep windows tightly shut. Having a pet contributes dander, or tiny flakes of skin and hair (similar to human dandruff), to the air. Additionally, fur, odors, bacteria, dirt, or bits of litter can also accumulate. Yuck!
To prevent the build-up of these allergens and irritants, make sure to clean and vacuum thoroughly, paying attention to the hard-to-reach places like corners, behind furniture, or under the sofa. You and your furry friend are breathing the same air, so cleaning helps you both. Regularly changing your air filters and cleaning AC ducts will help keep the air fresh year round.
Grooming for the Elements
Know how your lips always get endlessly chapped in fall and winter? Between the dry outdoor air and the heat blasting indoors, your pups and kits can get dry skin, too! Grooming in the cold months is just as, if not more, important than during other seasons.
If your pet spends a lot of time outdoors, snow and wet weather can lead to matting, which is uncomfortable in its own right. Add to that skin staying moist underneath the matted fur, and you’ve got a breeding ground for bacterial infection. The solution? Brush those coats, ideally multiple days a week! In addition to frequent brushings, giving your pet a bath with a high-quality moisturizing shampoo helps prevent dry skin and other coat issues during this time.
If your pet spends any time outdoors, keep their paw pads moisturized to protect against cracking from the cold ground. During particularly cold times, jackets and booties can keep your dog warm on walks, with the added bonus of being adorable.
Lastly, prepare for the possibility of fleas and ticks, especially in a mild winter. You may think that fleas die off in the cold, but it needs to be below freezing for extended periods of time for fleas and ticks to die, and they can be just as cozy indoors as you are! A good repellant is your friend.
Candles and Scents
So you want to get some mood lighting going (and maybe clear out some of those pet odors…) with a candle or two or sixty. We get it!
Unfortunately, many conventional candles contain paraffin. When burned, paraffin candles release soot that can cause respiratory problems in pets. Paraffin is made from petroleum and emits particulate pollution (a major component of air pollution) when burned, so it’s unsafe for both pets and the environment. Adding insult to injury, some of these candles have wicks made with lead, and you don’t need us to tell you why burning that would be bad.
This doesn’t mean it’s time to put out those lovely lights! Think about buying candles specifically marked as pet safe, meaning they don’t contain paraffin, lead, or other toxins. That way, both you and your pets can enjoy a clean, cozy home. Just make sure to keep candles well out of places where pets can get to them and burn themselves or knock them over, and to extinguish candles whenever you leave the room.
Odor neutralizing sprays are another way to get the air indoors as fresh and crisp as the air outdoors. No need to reach for chemical-laden air fresheners, which release harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air. All-natural odor neutralizers will do the trick and are better for all members of your household.
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Now that you know more about how the changing season affects your pets, you’re ready to bundle up! Grab some hot apple cider and your favorite sweater, and give your pet a big hug from us at kin+kind.