Brrrr! In our area winter is often a season of harsh cold and numbing wetness! No matter what the temperature is, wind chill can threaten a pet’s life. Pets are sensitive to severe cold and are at risk for frostbite and hypothermia when they are outdoors during extreme cold snaps. Exposed skin on noses, ears and paw pads can quickly freeze and suffer permanent damage. Here are some extra precautions to help keep your four-legged, furry, loved ones warm and safe during this year’s bitter winter:
Keep your cats inside! Letting your cats outside in the cold weather isn’t recommended because they can roam too far and become lost or stolen, or even freeze to death. Cats often can become injured in the outdoors by the severe elements, and by fighting with other cats and/or wildlife. Stray and feral cats often find shelter and warmth under the tire wells and hoods of our vehicles, so be sure to bang loudly on the hood of your car before starting it; not doing so can cause injury and/or death by the motor’s fan belt. Outdoor cats need help too so if there are outdoor cats (ferals, who are scared of people, and strays, who are lost or abandoned pets) in your area, remember that they need protection from the elements as well as food and water. Give them a helping hand.
Never let your dog off the leash! Always keep your dog leashed in the outdoors, especially during snowstorms because they can become lost easily. Making sure your dog is wearing his/her I.D. tags is also very important precaution. Puppies cannot tolerate the cold as well as adult dogs, therefore, it may be difficult to house train him. You may want to consider paper training him if he isn’t tolerant to the bitter cold. Also if you have a dog with a breed precaution, old age, or illness you may want to consider only letting him outside to relieve himself.
Always be sure to thoroughly wipe your dogs feet, legs, and stomach after a trip outside! If you don’t wipe them off your dog will tend to lick himself clean and therefore he can ingest dangerous chemicals like antifreeze. Salt is also a big issue during the cold winter months because it can cause the pads on your dogs feet to become encrusted and eventually bleed.
Never shave your dog down during the winter! A longer coat can provide more warmth against the elements! After bathing your dog be sure to completely dry him off before letting him venture outside. If you own a hairless or short haired breed you may want to consider purchasing a coat or sweater for your four-legged friend.
Do not leave your pet in the car! Your car works as a refrigerator trapping all the cold air inside the vehicle, so prolonged exposure can cause your pet to freeze to death.
All in all the best tip we can give you is to keep your pets with you and inside if at all possible! Make sure they have a warm place to sleep off of the floor and away from any drafts. If your pet is outside use tarp or shelter (ex- dog house) to keep them out of the elements. You can use straw and pillowcases loosely stuffed with packing peanuts and shredded newspaper to create a comfy and cozy area inside the shelter they can relax in. A comfy dog or cat bed with an added blanket is the perfect way to keep them happy, cozy, and safe! If you apply these tips this winter your furry loved ones will be happy and cozy, coasting all the way to the warm spring days ahead!