Family Time: How to keep your pets healthy and happy all winter long
Tip of the Week
Dry skin, winter weight gain and the common cold - humans aren't the only ones to struggle with winter woes. Cold weather can affect our pets' health, too. While you can put in some extra time on the treadmill and layer up for the cold weather, pets rely on their human companions to help them stay healthy all year long. As temperatures drop and snow starts to fall, keep these simple safety tips in mind to help keep your pets safe and healthy this winter:
- Dress to impress ... and stay warm. With thick coats and hardy constitutions, some animal breeds are made to stand up to Old Man Winter. But most domestic dogs will feel the cold, so it makes sense to outfit them for the weather. Sweaters, booties and other winter essentials aren't just fashionable, they're functional; they can help protect your four-legged friends from extreme cold, snow and ice. Keeping ID tags up to date and secure on your pet's collar is also a crucial part of any pet's winter wardrobe. Dogs especially can lose their way in snow-covered landscapes that mask familiar scents and scenery. It's best to keep your dog on a leash and ensure it is wearing an ID tag at all times to keep Fido safe and secure all season.
- Avoid toxic temptations. Common products around your house can sometimes pose a threat to pets. For example, antifreeze can keep your vehicle running when temperatures drop, but it can stop your pet in its tracks if even a small amount is ingested. Be sure to keep all jugs of antifreeze, and other household chemicals, tightly sealed and stored on a high shelf away from pets. Clean up spills as soon as they happen to avoid accidental ingestion. Always keep an eye on your pet's behavior. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, consult a veterinarian immediately.
- Get safer sidewalks and happy paws. Ice and snow can make winter walks anything but wonderful. It's essential to keep sidewalks clear of ice and snow to prevent dangerous slip and fall accidents. While salted sidewalks and streets are important for winter safety, they can irritate pets' paws. Using a pet-friendly ice melter can clear the way but still be safer for our furry friends.
- Take a bite out of winter weight. Like people, pets are less active in winter and burn fewer calories. Keep up a regular schedule of outdoor excursions - weather permitting and assuming your pet is properly dressed for the cold. In addition, consult your veterinarian about proper diet during “hibernation” season and adjust your pet's diet accordingly to avoid winter weight gain.
Family Movie Night
“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2”
Length: 115 minutes
Synopsis: In the finale to the “Twilight” series, after the birth of Renesmee, the Cullens gather other vampire clans in order to protect the child from a false allegation that puts the family in front of the Volturi.
Violence/scary rating: 4.5
Sexual-content rating: 3.5
Profanity rating: 2
Drugs/alcohol rating: 1.5
Family Time rating: 3.5. This is a fairly hardcore PG-13 flick, but if your kids can handle vampires, this isn’t bad.
(Ratings are judged on a five-point scale, with 5 being “bad for kids” and 1 being “fine for kids.”)
“How Do Dinosaurs Say Merry Christmas?,” by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague (illustrator)
Synopsis: From decorating the tree to wrapping presents, little dinosaurs love to celebrate Christmas - and everything about it. With ornaments on the branches and carolers singing at the door, the spirit of Christmas is finally here and filling the hearts of families everywhere. But when the stockings are hung on the chimney, and the cookies are left out for Santa, how can little dinosaurs go to sleep? It's so exciting! How can they possibly calm down and behave? Children will laugh out loud as dinosaurs secretly lick candy canes, take sneaky peeks at gifts, and disrupt the traditional family feast. - Scholastic, Inc.
Did You Know
A study published in The Journal of Pediatrics found that pregnant women who smoked one pack or more of cigarettes a day had children who later performed poorly on reading comprehension tests.
GateHouse News Service