Keeping Pets Safe in the Cold

Winter has taken us over, whether you are in the North, South, West or East, the cold temps have blanketed us all, so, here are some tips to keeping your pets safe in this cold weather.

Your pet should be outside a very limited amount of time. Depending on the pets itself, thicker coated breeds like Huskies can stay out longer. Dogs in good health can stay out a bit longer, and dogs with proper shelters. Dogs that have medical problems that make it hard to keep their body temps up should not be left out except to potty. Dogs that have short hair or are very young or old are more vulnerable in the cold and should not be left outside.

If your dog is an outside dog, make sure they have water that is not frozen, warm bedding and a place to get completely out of the wind, rain, sleet, ice etc.

If your dog has to go out and potty and there is snow on the ground, make sure they have a path and area to relieve themselves in. Boots for some small dogs are even recommended to help keep their little feet warm.

Cats like to curl up against buildings and get under the hoods of cars to stay warm. Always be cautious when starting your vehicle if you have outside cats or ferals running in your neighborhood. Tap the hood of your vehicle before starting it.

If you have a pond or lake or live near one, be sure that your pets do not go near these or try to walk on them as they may fall through a thin piece of ice.

If you are using a space heater in your home, your cat or dog may go very close to it to stay warm so never leave them alone with a space heater. They could knock it over and start a fire or even burn themselves.

Putting a sweater or coat on your pet is ok, but make sure it fits the pet properly and doesn’t obstruct their ability to see or move. Also, don’t think that this is going to keep your pet completely warm. Pets lose heat through the pads of their feet, their ears and respiratory tract. Dry their feet and ears when they come back into the house.

Lastly, if you suspect that your pet has frostbite, bring them inside, soak their extremities in warm water for about 20 minutes, then wrap in a warm blanket or towel. If they do not seem to be getting better or you see their body temperature not coming up or unusual looking skin, or no improvement in their circulation, get them to their vet.

The cold weather does not have to be dangerous to your pets with proper care.