When Old Man Winter comes to town he can bring varied temperatures, rain, sleet, and bitter cold. Pets, too, are exposed to different hazards during winter than at other times of year. To keep your pet protected through the cold months, your friends at Town and Country Animal Hospital are here to give you the scoop on winter pet safety.
Mind the Cold
It’s very important to keep tabs on how warm your pet is when it is cold out – for tiny breeds and those that are thin haired, their comfort indoors should also be monitored. When the temperature drops below 45 degrees, it’s time to bring your pet back inside.
Pets need a few things to keep them warm during winter months, which might include:
- Quality, well fitting coat
- Rain gear
- Warm blankets
Beds should be placed in a draft-free area of the home, making sure to keep the furnace set at a comfortable temperature when your pet is there.
Never leave your dog or cat outdoors unattended and opt for short walks a few times a day, rather than longer jaunts. Keep notice of your pet’s comfort level when outdoors and bring them in when they seem uncomfortable.
Know the signs of hypothermia, such as uncontrolled trembling, stiff muscles, pale gums, dilated pupils, and stumbling. This is a veterinary emergency and your pet needs to be moved to a warm area.
Dehydration and Dry Skin
Dehydration may be something you thin when it is hot out, but that’s not the only time of year to be concerned. Winter is very drying to the coat and skin and additional attention to hydration may be needed. Keep a few bowls of clean drinking water around the home and entice the water-finicky pet to drink my by using a circulating fountain or adding some tuna water or low sodium chicken broth to the bowl.
Keep your pet’s skin health with regular grooming appointments, but avoid shampooing your pet too often. Look for dryness of coat, dandruff, and other signs of skin issues. Speak with your veterinarian about issues related to dull, dry skin and coat, since this could also signal a health concern.
Other pet dangers that coincide with the winter months are pet poisonings related to road salts, automotive fluids, especially antifreeze, and deicers used around the home. Be sure to clean up any spills in the garage or driveway and shovel snow manually.
When starting the engine on a cool day, knock the hood a few times since feral or outdoor cats are known to curl up on warm engines and under hoods.
Other Reminders for Winter Pet Safety
Remember that even in cold climates and cooler temperatures, parasites like fleas, ticks, and heartworms remain a threat. Keep your pet on a monthly preventive throughout the year for the best protection.
If you would like additional winter pet safety tips, please call us. We are your partners in health for your bestie.