Winter is here, like it or not that means we have many cold days to look forward to. While winter weather may mean slopes, hot cocoa, and warm fires for some of us we have to think of what the cold means for our pets.
We all react differently to the cold, even our “cold-weather” animals can be affected in different ways depending on their age, health, and exposure to colder temperatures. Always consult your veterinarian for the best information on how to care for your pet’s health this winter.
Here are some general tips to think about it.
Walking Your Dog
On cold and frigid days consider shortening your walk and try to find other ways to get their energy out inside your home. Puzzle toys are always a great distraction if you are worried about losing another pillow to Muffy and Scout.
Dress appropriately, yes not just you, but your furry friend may benefit from an added “fur coat”.
Before and after any walk “paws” and take a moment to check your pet’s paws for any signs of injury or extreme cold. With snow and ice prevalent so are damaging salts and melting chemicals that can severely hurt your animal, especially if ingested.
Also, avoid pet haircuts in the winter, let that thick coat shine.
Mind the Warnings
Look for signs that your animal may be getting too cold. These signs can include Trembling, Slowed Breathing, Dry Skin, Numbness, Mobility Issues, Illness or Sleepiness.
Or at least bang some pots and pans! This time of year your wild neighbors (squirrels, chipmunks, etc..) may look to find shelter from the cold and wind in your vehicle. Before you start your engine and drive off take a minute to make sure you don’t have an unwanted passenger.
While on the subject of outdoors
There are a number of feral cats looking to catch a glimpse of Blake Lively and Martha Stewart. While most feral cats are adept and finding a cool pad (or warm one in this case) consider putting out a weather-safe container with straw bedding and an access point to provide shelter. If you plan to leave water be mindful of it freezing.
Don’t forget your Kit may need a Kaboodle
Nothing says being prepared like the boy scout motto, but having a home disaster kit comes in a close second. Always have an ample supply of food, water, and medication (5 days is a good benchmark)