How to keep your cats cool and dogs defrosted during winter
It’s that time of year again, Winter is seemingly tightening its icy grip and it seems to be dark all of the time when we are not at work. But what about our pets – are we doing enough to ensure that they don’t have an absolutely woeful winter?
We all know that when it gets cold, it can get cold really fast. So see this item as a reminder to pet owners that if it’s too cold for you to go outside, it’s definitely too cold for your pet. Exposure to harsh conditions can cause serious illness or death to animals; especially in freezing rain and during rapid temperature fluctuations.
Every year, animal cruelty prevention charities across the planet have the unenviable task of investigating thousands of complaints about animals left unprotected in winter weather.
The following tips are just a guidelines taken from an article recently published by Kristen Kallis, which should help us keep our beloved mutts and moggies safe as the temperatures tumble.
Cats seeking warmth under vehicle hoods. When the vehicle motor is started, the cat can be injured or killed by the fan belt. Knock on the hood or sound the horn before starting the engine.
Clean up antifreeze spills carefully and dispose of the rags as hazardous waste. Be alert for spills when out on walks. Ethylene glycol, which is found in antifreeze and brake fluids, is deadly to all animals. Since it tastes sweet, they may lick it. A very small amount can be fatal if your pet ingests it, and emergency veterinary care is a must.
Cats should be left indoors — as always, but especially now — and dogs should only go out for short bathroom breaks, supervised. Cats, short-coated dogs and puppies are particularly vulnerable in cold temperatures. Try a comfortable dog sweater or coat as an extra layer of warmth.
Since puppies are generally less tolerant of the cold than adult dogs, put a jacket or sweater on her when you take her outside to go to the bathroom when housetraining her. Give her a treat as soon as she’s done, and then bring her back inside. Also bring her inside if she hasn’t shown any signs of needing to ‘go’ after a couple minutes. Supervise to prevent accidents, or crate her since dogs are less likely to soil where they eat or sleep.
The says to use a damp towel to wipe your pet’s paws and underside after being outside. Salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice on roads and sidewalks can irritate and burn your pet’s sensitive paws, and can be dangerous if they eat it. Also, remove ice balls by placing your pet’s feet in warm (not hot) water before drying them off with a towel. Consider using booties to protect your pet’s paws.
Ensure your pet always has a warm place to sleep away from drafts and off the floor.
Let your dog off leash on ice or in the snow, especially during a snowstorm, as dogs can lose their scent and easily become lost or fall through the ice.
Shave your dog down to the skin in winter. When you bathe your dog during winter months, make sure he is completely dry before outside.
Leave your cat or dog alone in a car during cold weather. Cars hold in the cold, acting like refrigerators, which could cause your pet to freeze to death, and this can happen very quickly.
To completely remove any chance of your pet freezing to death, pet charities such as the RSPCA strongly recommends that we bring our pets indoors, but notes dogs that do live outdoors require adequate shelter and a constant supply of fresh water. Common sense is the most key factor at play here and checking the weather forecasts to spot to any potential cold snaps could avoid any tragedies. Just be aware and be prepared.
Here at PetHealth & Nutrition we are not qualified to dispense medical advice. However, should you have any concerns regarding your pet’s health or nutrition, we do advise that you consult a qualified veterinarian.
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