Animal protection in the winter
Need to protect your pets in winter? Find out how to keep your pets safe this winter from the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Have you had your pet's winter wellness exam? Cold temperatures might exacerbate some medical conditions like arthritis. This is an excellent time to check on your pet's health and get him or her ready for the winter.
You're certainly aware of the dangers of hot weather and leaving dogs in hot automobiles, but did you realize that cold weather may be just as dangerous?
Here are some winter safety tips for pets to keep your pets safe during cold weather:
Has your pet received a preventative care exam? Arthritis, for example, may worsen in cold weather. Your pet should be evaluated by a veterinarian at least once a year, and now is the time to make sure he or she is ready for the cold weather.
Know your limits:
Just like people, pets' cold tolerance varies depending on coat, body fat, activity, and health. Adjust to your pet's tolerance for chilly temperatures. In cold weather, you may need to minimize your dog's walks to avoid weather-related health hazards. Arthritic and elderly dogs are more prone to slipping and falling on snow and ice. Long-haired or thick-coated dogs are more resistant to cold but are nonetheless vulnerable. Due to less protection, short-haired pets feel the cold sooner, and short-legged dogs may become colder when they come into touch with snow-covered ground. Diabetes, heart illness, renal disease, and hormonal abnormalities (such as Cushing's disease) might make pets more vulnerable to temperature extremes. Same with young and aged pets. Consult your vet if you need help determining your pet's temperature range.
Just like you, dogs appreciate comfy resting areas that they can move to when the weather changes. Give children safe opportunities to change their sleeping spots to suit their requirements.
Keeping cats and dogs inside is good pet safety tips for winter. It's a popular misconception that dogs and cats are more resistant to cold than humans due to their coats. Cats and dogs, like people, are prone to frostbite and hypothermia. The longer-haired and thicker-coated dog breeds, such as huskies and other dogs bred for colder climes, are more tolerant of cold weather.
Make a racket:
A warm car engine might seem enticing to outdoor and wild cats, but it is lethal. Before starting the engine, check underneath your car, beat on the hood, and blow the horn to persuade any feline hitchhikers to leave. Check your dog's paws for symptoms of cold-weather injury or damage, such as cracked or bleeding paw pads. An injury or ice accumulation between his/her toes may cause abrupt lameness when walking. Clipping the hair between your dog's toes may help prevent iceball formation.
Dress up your dog:
If your dog has a short coat or dislikes the cold, consider a sweater or coat to protect your pets in winter. Keep extra dry sweaters or coats on hand for when your dog goes outside. Wet sweaters or jackets make dogs colder. If you opt to use booties to protect your dog's feet, be sure they fit properly.
During walks, your dog's feet, legs, and belly may pick up hazardous substances like deicers and antifreeze. Wipe off (or wash) your dog's feet, legs, and belly when you return home to eliminate the chemicals and reduce the risk of poisoning. Use pet-friendly deicers on your property to safeguard your pets and your neighbors.
Snow and ice can mask distinctive odors that could ordinarily assist your pet find his/her way home. Make sure your pet wears a well-fitting collar with current identification. A microchip is more lasting, but you must maintain the registration current.
Not only are hot automobiles harmful to dogs, but chilly cars are as harmful. You know how a car can quickly cool down in cold weather, almost like a refrigerator for your pet. Young, aged, unwell, or skinny pets are especially sensitive to cold and should never be left in chilly automobiles. Keep driving trips to a minimum and never leave your pet unsupervised.
Prevent antifreeze toxicity by cleaning up spills soon. Keep your pets away from medications, home chemicals, poisonous foods like onions, xylitol (a sugar replacement), and chocolate.
Winter is a wonderful time to pet-proof your home because your pet will be spending more time inside. Space heaters should be used with caution near dogs since they can burn or be knocked over, causing a fire. Install carbon monoxide detectors and check your furnace before the winter season arrives. If you have a pet bird, keep it out of drafts.
Avoid walking your dog near frozen ponds, lakes, and rivers. Ice may not sustain your dog's weight, and a break in the ice might be fatal. Your life and your dog's life may be at peril if this happens.
If you can't keep your dog inside during the cold weather, give a warm, strong shelter from the wind. Assure them of limitless access to non-frozen water (by changing the water frequently or using a pet-safe, heated water bowl). If the shelter has no floor, the bedding should be thick, dry, and changed frequently to provide a warm, dry atmosphere. The shelter's entryway should face away from the wind. Heat lamps and space heaters should be avoided due to the risk of fire. Heated pet rugs should be used with caution as well since they might cause burns.
If your pet is whimpering, shivering, worried, slowing down or stopping moving, frail, or hunting for warm places to burrow, bring them inside immediately. Frostbite is more difficult to detect and may not be completely identified for several days. Consult your veterinarian if you believe your pet has hypothermia or frostbite.
Prepare for harsh winter weather, blizzards, and power outages. Prepare a disaster/emergency pack for your pet. Have adequate food, water, and medicine (including prescriptions, heartworm, and flea/tick preventives) for 5 days.
Maintain a healthy weight during the winter:
Some pet owners believe that a little additional weight protects their pet from the cold, but the health dangers outweigh the benefits. Keep an eye on your pet's health. Outdoor pets may need extra calories in the winter to create adequate body heat and energy to remain warm — discuss your pet's dietary needs with your veterinarian.