It's winter, and pets can be just as cold and
miserable in this weather as humans can. Here are some tips on keeping your pet
healthy and happy during the cold months.
1. Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm. Dogs frequently lose their scent in
snow and ice and
can easily become lost. They may panic in a snowstorm and run away. More
dogs are lost during the winter than during any other season.
2. Dogs and cats lose a lot of their body heat from the pads on their feet and through their ears. Pet sweaters
not a whole lot.
3. If your dog is sensitive to the cold because of age, illness, or breed type, take him outdoors only long enough
to relieve himself.
Windchill makes days colder than actual temperature readings. Be
attentive to your dog's body temperature and limit time outdoors.
Companion animals are easily susceptible to frostbite.
4. Thoroughly wipe off and towel dry your pet's legs and stomach when it
comes in out of the rain, snow, or ice. Check their sensitive paw pads
and between the toes for snow or ice encrusted in them. Also, salt,
antifreeze, or other chemicals could hurt your pet if she ingests them
while licking her paws.
5. Never leave your pet alone in a car during cold weather (or during hot weather).
The metal car can act as a refrigerator in the
winter and hold in the cold. Your pet could freeze to death.
If the car is left running, your pet could die from breathing in carbon
monoxide. Also, pets are often stolen from unattended vehicles.
6. Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep far away
from all drafts and off the floor, such as in a dog or cat bed or a
basket with a warm blanket or pillow in it. Tiles and uncarpeted areas may become extremely cold, so make sure to place
blankets and pads on floors in these areas.
7. Be careful of supplemental heat sources. Fireplaces and portable
heaters can severely burn your dog or cat. Make sure all fireplaces have
screens, and keep portable heaters out of reach.
8. Like people, animals seem to be more susceptible to illness in the
winter. Call your veterinarian if you see any suspicious symptoms.
Don't use over-the-counter medications on your pet without consulting the
9. Limit the time a pet is outdoors. Shivering is a sign your pet is too cold and
indicates the start of hypothermia. A shivering pet
should be slowly warmed until signs of hypothermia are gone.
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