Winter is coming….. actually it may already be here! Keeping ourselves safe and warm is extremely important as the weather turns colder, but what about keeping our pets safe and warm?
Just like us, our pets can suffer from the effects of the cold, they can become hypothermic, or get frostbite as well. Here are some tips to keep your outdoor and indoor pets safe an warm this winter.
- If your pet must stay outdoors ensure they have an available water source at all times. Well hydrated animals are less likely to be affected by the cold. Lots of pet stores offer heated water dishes to prevent freezing.
- Antifreeze poisoning is a very serious condition that happens frequently in the winter months. Animals love the taste of antifreeze, so ensure containers are kept closed and well out of reach of any type of critter. If your vehicle leaks any antifreeze onto the snow wash away immediately with lots of water.
- Outdoor pets need a sheltered place that is well-bedded with DRY straw, shavings or blanket strips that trap warm air. Remember, animals drag a lot of moisture into their bedded areas from snow, rain and mud. Check their bedding often and change it whenever it is wet.
- Most cats prefer to be kept indoors during the winter months but if it is an absolute must that the cat has to be outside always check under the hood of your vehicle before starting as a popular spot for outdoor cats to try and stay warm is on the engine of your car.
- When taking your dog for a walk, wipe off dog’s legs, feet and stomach when they come in out of the snow or ice. They can ingest salt, antifreeze or other dangerous chemicals if they lick their paws. Be sure to inspect the pads of their feet for encrusted ice as they may crack from the cold. Many dogs need boots in cold weather
- Dogs with very short coots have the least tolerance for cold. These dogs should not go outside without a sweater or a coat. A good coat should reach from the neck to the base of the tail and also protect the belly. But remember that coats will not prevent frostbite on the ears, feet or tail … so even with a cozy coat, don’t keep your short haired dog out too long in freezing temperatures.
- If your dog feels the cold, try to walk him in the late morning or early afternoon hours when temperatures are a little warmer, and avoid early morning or late evening walks. Spend time playing outdoors while it’s sunny; sunshine brings the added benefit of providing both you and your pet with vitamin D!
Harsh winter weather brings a wide variety of concerns to responsible pet owners. Bitter cold, numbing wetness or biting winds can cause discomfort for that special animal in your life. Paying special attention to your loyal friend’s well-being during the winter season will ensure that you both enjoy the season to the fullest.And don’t forget that winter cuddles with your little buddy are a great way for everybody to keep warm!
Melissa Topham RVT