Baby, It’s Cold Outside: Winter Pet Safety
In our little slice of heaven, it does get downright cold. The dry, windy, and frigid days to come are good reminders that it’s important to keep a pulse on winter pet safety. A basic rule is that if it’s too cold for you outside, it’s too cold for your pets. Read on for more tips for keeping your best friends safe, warm, and happy when winter winds blow.
Winter Pet Safety
Keep them in – when the cold is here, it’s best to keep your pets indoors as much as possible. It’s a common belief that pets are better equipped than we are to handle cold weather due to their coat, but this is a misconception. Fur is actually not adequate protection from extreme weather, and pets are absolutely susceptible to hypothermia. For this reason, cats and dogs (and other pets) should be kept inside in cold weather.
An extra coat – if your dog has a short coat, or is sensitive to cold, get her an extra sweater or dog coat to wear when going outside. Some pet parents also opt for boots to protect sensitive paws from snow, ice, and cold.
After walk care – after returning from a walk or time outside, wipe down your pet’s paws, belly, and chest. Pet paws and bodies can pick up ice, rock salt, debris, and antifreeze. Pay special attention to their paws, which are especially sensitive.
Car check – feral and outdoor cats will take shelter in any warm spot, and next to a warm car engine is a preferred trick! Check under the hood of your car, honk your horn, or rap on the top of your hood before starting your engine.
Scale down – just like some of us (ahem!), pets can easily become more sedentary during winter months. This can lead to weight gain if not managed appropriately. Talk to us at your pet’s preventive care exam about proper nutrition needs and exercise during winter weather.
Winter Pet Safety for the Young at Heart
Older pets may have an even lower tolerance for winter weather. Breed and overall general health also play a role in how a pet will brave the cold. Just like humans, cold weather can pose problems for senior pets with arthritis or other joint disease.
A few creature comforts can help pets to thrive through the winter. Provide a soft, warm bed, stay close to support them on stairs, and pay attention to icy conditions when out walking so as to prevent falls. A fall can be especially debilitating to older pets, so be sure to also keep aware of hazardous conditions around your home.
Your friends at Blue Valley Animal Hospital want your pet to have a safe and comfortable winter. If you have questions or need support with any of these ideas, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. We’re here for you!