Remember that winter conditions are not only a headache for us but also a threat to our pets, with dogs, cats, rabbits, and other small animals all being at risk from cold spells. When the cold winter weather descends and temperatures begin to drop, there are some special precautions you can take to keep your pet warm and safe. It is important to remember that pets are family members and should always be treated as such.
Here are some important things to remember that will keep your pet warm and safe this season.
Know your dog’s limits!
Some dogs are more sensitive to the cold than others. Short-haired, skinny, older or very young dogs catch cold faster, so adjust the length of their walk! If your dog likes to be outside, consider equipping him with a sweater or coat to keep him warm. Hypothermia and frostbite are major risks for dogs in winter, so remember that if it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your dog!
Take shorter, more frequent walks
It’s worth considering taking your dog on shorter, more frequent walks to protect him from weather-related health risks.
Wipe their paws!
During winter walks, your dog’s paws can pick up all kinds of toxic chemicals, antifreeze, etc. Be sure to wipe your dog’s paws when you return from your walks to prevent him from licking them and getting sick. And when wiping your dog’s paws, remember to check for signs of injury, such as cracked or bleeding paws.
Keep them on a leash!
Winter is the season when animals get lost the most, as snowfall can mask recognizable smells that would normally help them find their way home. To prevent your pets from getting lost, keep dogs on a leash during walks and, in case you become separated from your pets, make sure their collars have up-to-date contact details.
Watch out for here steps, roads, and sidewalks
Senior pets, especially those with arthritis or mobility issues, are at risk of slipping and injuring themselves on slippery surfaces, including steps, or when jumping out of a vehicle.
Consider a sweater or coat
It’s a myth that dogs and cats are more cold-hardy than people, just because they have fur. Even long-haired animals are threatened by the cold. Remember to put a dry sweater on your pet before going out and always take a change of clothes in case he gets wet.
- Get seen!
Due to daylight saving time, many of us are relegated to walking our dogs in the dark. Keep yourself and your dog safe by wearing reflective gear (clothing, leash, collar, etc.) and keeping your dog close when walking down the street.
Avoid frozen lakes and ponds
Avoid water that has frozen. There is no guarantee that it will support your pet’s weight. If your dog or cat falls through the ice, it could be deadly.
Store the antifreeze well!
Antifreeze is attractive to cats and dogs because it tastes very mild, but is extremely toxic and can cause serious illness or death when ingested. Be sure to clean up any spilled antifreeze in your garage and keep the bottle somewhere your pets can’t get to it.
Research your pet’s breed
Just like humans, some pets, like husky dogs and Persian cats, are colder tolerant than others. Be sure to research your pet’s breed. For example, Dobermans, Chihuahuas, and Great Danes need a bit more protection from the cold.