Winter Guidelines for Your Pet
You know what it takes to get through the winter when you live in the northern region–boots, warm jacket, gloves, hat, etc. But what about your pet? He or she relies on you for their safety throughout the winter months. A bit of fore-thought and not much money can get both of you through until spring.
Safety for your furry friend can be critical in any location once the temperatures start to plunge. Here in Wisconsin it starts dipping below freezing at night in October. January and February can bring temperatures in the negative digits. Most of us are pretty desperate for some kind of relief by March. Snow is typically on the ground beginning in November, and we may still be shoveling in April. A few years ago we even had a freak snowstorm in May.
Stay Inside: Never leave your dog or cat outside during cold weather. End of discussion. It’s an erroneous belief that dogs and cats can tolerate cold weather because of their fur. Just like people, pets can get frostbite and hypothermia and can die from exposure to the freezing temperatures..
Know the Limits: An animal’s cold tolerance can vary depending on their coat, body fat stores, activity level, and health. Shorten your dog’s walks in very cold weather to protect you both from possible weather-associated health risks. Your dog’s paws can accumulate ice between their toes. It may help to clip the hair between their toes. Watch for signs of cold-weather damage, such as cracked paw pads or bleeding.
Clean Up: During walks, your dog’s feet, legs and belly may pick up toxic chemicals from the ground. Salt on the sidewalks, spilled antifreeze, and other poisons are a risk for your pet. This is especially true if they’re given the opportunity to lick their coated fur. Wash your pet’s feet, legs and belly to remove these chemicals as soon as you get home.
Keep Your Pet Home: I understand you want to take your pet everywhere, but cold cars pose significant risk to their health. Cars can rapidly cool down in cold weather and this can put your pet in a dangerous, even life-threatening situation.
If you’re lucky, you live in Arizona and don’t have to worry about these conditions like my buddy Phil!
Awareness and planning are key to keeping both you and your pawtastic pal safe and warm this winter season!
Check out my article The Health Benefits of Pet Ownership.
Please share your thoughts on keeping pets safe during cold weather in the comments below.
Till next time, Sandra
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