Sunday, January 26, 2014

Cold Weather Safety for Your Pet

Winter is here and with it the cold weather. It also requires some special care and considerations for your pet's safety.  Here are some things to remember

  • Preventive Care Exam-The cold weather can make certain conditions worse and they may need extra support during this time of year for example arthritis may be more painful.
  • Cold Weather Tolerance- Be aware that each pet will have it's own tolerance for cold depending on coat, body fat, activity level,  age (puppies have a lower tolerance) and health. Diseases such as diabetes, heart and kidney disease may make it harder for them to regulate their body temperature and arthritis may be more painful.
  • Grooming and Dressing-Keeping your pet's coat longer during the winter can help keep them warm. Also dressing them properly (coat and booties) can help them maintain their body temperature. 
  • Avoid Over Exposure To the Cold - Even if they are dressed properly over exposure should be avoided.  This includes leaving your pet outside for long periods of time even in a car (just as in summer it can be dangerous) Frost-bite and Hypothermia can set in quickly.
  • Ice- Be caution of frozen bodies of water and don't let your dog off their leash. It might be thinner than you think. It can also be slippery and injury can occur
  • Wipe Their Paws and Coats- Paws can get dry and crack causing pain and infection. Wiping and check paws regularly can help. They may also come in contact with potentially hazardous substance (salt, antifreeze, deicers) and by wiping them down you can reduce the risk. 
  • Warm Place-Provide a warm safe place (away from drafts) for your pet.  Consider moving your outdoor pets inside. 
  • Plan Ahead- Be prepared for severe weather, blizzards, and power outages. Make sure you have enough supplies on hand in case of an emergency (food and medications).