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Keeping Dogs Safe in Cold Weather

Table of Contents:

  1. Protecting your pets from the cold: a winter guide

Protecting your pets from the cold: a winter guide

We all know the dangers of leaving pets in hot cars during warm weather, but did you know that the cold can also seriously endanger your pets’ health? Both pets and livestock can be at risk during the colder months. Here’s how to keep them safe and healthy.

Know the limits

Have you scheduled a preventive care exam for your pet recently? Conditions like arthritis can worsen in cold weather. It’s a good idea to get your pet checked out to ensure they’re as healthy and prepared as possible for the winter. Your pet should have a veterinary evaluation at least once a year.

Stay indoors

During the winter, it’s crucial to keep your pets indoors. Despite the common belief that their coats make them more tolerant of cold weather, cats and dogs can still suffer from frostbite and hypothermia. Even breeds like Huskies, which are bred for colder climates, should not be left outside for extended periods in freezing temperatures.

Winter wellness

Tolerance to cold can vary from pet to pet, depending on factors like coat, body fat, exercise level, and overall health. Consider your pet’s tolerance for cold weather and adjust accordingly. Shorten walks to protect both you and your dog from potential health concerns due to extreme cold.

Elderly and arthritic animals may find it harder to walk on snow and ice, increasing the risk of trips and falls. While long-haired or thick-coated dogs are generally more tolerant of cold, they can still be at risk for hypothermia. Short-haired and short-legged animals experience the cold more quickly as they have less insulation and are closer to the ground.

Pets with conditions like diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, or hormonal imbalances may struggle more with temperature regulation and be more vulnerable to extreme temperatures. Very young or very old pets are similarly at risk. Consult your veterinarian to determine your pet’s safe temperature range.

Provide cosy options

Pets, like humans, prefer cosy places to sleep and may move around to find the most comfortable spot. Offer a few secure sleeping options so they can adjust their location as needed for optimal comfort.

Protect your home

Ensure your home is pet-proofed for the winter since your pets will likely spend more time indoors. Use caution with space heaters, as they can burn pets or be knocked over, potentially causing a fire. Make sure your furnace is functioning properly and install carbon monoxide detectors to protect your whole family. If you have pet birds, keep their cages away from drafts.

Paw checks

Regularly check your dog’s paws for injuries or damage caused by the cold, such as bleeding or split paw pads. A sudden limp while walking could be due to an injury or ice buildup between the toes. Trimming the hair between your dog’s toes can help reduce the risk of iceballs forming.

 

By following these tips, you can ensure that your pets stay safe, healthy, and comfortable throughout the winter months.

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