The days are shorter with the official start of winter just weeks away. As people cozy up inside or plan festive winter outings, it’s tempting to think your pet’s fur will keep them warm while they’re outside. But remember – if it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for your pet!Keep four-legged friends safe this winter. Throughout the season, remember these seven tips to keep pets healthy, happy and protected from cold temperatures.
1. Bring pets inside
Just like people, cats and dogs are susceptible to hypothermia and frostbite and should not be left outside in the cold for prolonged periods of time. Thick-coated dog breeds are more tolerant of cooler weather, but beware of freezing temperatures or wind chills that make it feel much colder.
2. Provide a cozy space
If dogs are going to be left outdoors, owners should provide a well-insulated, draft-free, appropriately-sized doghouse with a sturdy, flexible covering to prevent icy winds from entering. Pay attention to your pets’ behavior, and if they begin to whine, shiver, or seem anxious or weak, bring them inside immediately, as they may be showing signs of hypothermia. Make sure all pets have a warm place to sleep in the house, off the floor and away from drafts.
3. Press “paws” on pet injuries
Check your animals’ paws frequently for signs of cold-weather damage, such as a cracked paw pad or bleeding. Paw booties may be just the trick to prevent injuries from happening, and be sure to rinse and dry pets’ paws after being outside, as de-icing products like rock salt can irritate foot pads. If you run with your dog, pay attention to cold paws and, if it gets too cold, leave your pup at home.
4. Layer up your pup
If your dog has a thinner coat or seems bothered by cooler temperatures, consider a sweater or a dog coat. But be careful – a wet sweater or coat can actually make your dog colder. A wet pet is a cold pet, so be sure to dry off pets (and their clothing!) to keep them comfortable.
5. Prevent poisoning
Wipe the pet’s feet, legs and stomach area to prevent ingestion of salt or dangerous chemicals. Make sure to clean up any antifreeze spills or buildup quickly. Pets may find it smells and tastes sweet, but it is poisonous and can cause serious health issues (Better yet, use pet-safe antifreeze, which is made with propylene glycol). If a pet accidentally ingests something poisonous, contact your veterinarian immediately.
6. Schedule a winter wellness exam
If your pet has not visited the veterinarian for his or her yearly wellness exam, now is the perfect opportunity. Cold weather may worsen certain medical conditions such as arthritis, so prep your pet for the winter season by visiting the vet!
7. Beware the dangers of autos
Never leave a pet alone in a car during cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death. Bang loudly on your car hood or honk the horn before starting the engine. In their search to stay warm, cats often take refuge next to a warm car engine or tire.
Article by: KHQA