Keeping Your Pets Safe This Winter: Top Cold Weather Tips
You know the various pet risks associated with warm weather. That’s why you never leave your four-legged companion in the car. You also see to it that you take frequent breaks whenever you go out for a walk. But did you know that cold weather can also pose threats to your pet’s well-being? Snow, ice, and freezing temperatures can severely affect your pet’s health and safety. Here are the top three cold weather tips to keep your dog or cat happy and protected this upcoming winter season:
Provide Shelter and Keep Them Warm. If it’s too cold for you outside, expect that the temperature will likely be unbearable for your animal companion too. Keep your cat or dog inside at night when temperatures usually drop. Change their resting spot if necessary, and provide them with comfortable bedding. Remember that the winter chill can cause frostbites in your pet’s exposed skin, such as their paws, noses, and ears. These extreme temperatures can also increase their risk of hypothermia. For this reason, under no circumstances should you leave your pet outdoors for prolonged periods. During short walks, it’s best to have them leashed and wear a sweater. Not all pets need a coat, but smaller and short-haired breeds often benefit from an extra layer of warmth. Stay away from the ice when walking your pet and bathe your pet as little as possible.
Watch Out for Potential Hazards. Your pet’s food and water bowls can ice over when the temperatures drop below freezing. This can be hazardous as they may try to eat or drink from lethal sources like snow salt or anti-freeze. As you may already know, anti-freeze can kill your animal companion. Ensure that there aren’t any spills on your driveway. Since your dog or cat will be mostly staying indoors, make sure that they don’t have access to toxic foods and household products. Booties, paw pads, and paw protectants are also advisable. Not only to keep dirt and frost from getting lodged between your pet’s feet but also to protect your pet’s paws from cold-weather injuries.
Pay Attention to Possible Issues. Does your pet look anxious? Has it been whining or shivering? If so, it’s a clear indication that your dog or cat is not feeling well. Hypothermia and frostbite are life-threatening conditions, so you should be able to identify the symptoms right away. Warning signs for hypothermia include body temperature below 99 degrees Fahrenheit, lethargy, and shivering. On the other hand, frostbite is indicated by discoloration on the affected skin, swelling, and blisters. The skin may also feel cold and even tender to the touch. If you spot any of these symptoms, take your pet to the vet at once.
Nevertheless, the best tip for winter woes is allowing your furball to live indoors with you. The happiest pets are taken out for exercise with caution but kept inside your home the rest of the time. Do you want to learn more about how you can keep your animal companion safe this winter? Call the Animal Emergency Clinic of San Diego in Poway, California, for more information.