Dog following another dogAs temperatures across the nation crash to record lows, there has been considerable concern about keeping pets safe during the winter months. We understand this concern and hope you’ll consider the following when it comes to keeping your pet warm and safe as the mercury drops.

In or Out?

Generally speaking, your common sense should guide you when it comes to cold weather safety for your pet. For most companion animals the rule of thumb: if you’re cold, they’re cold, rings true. Just like us, pets can suffer from frostbite and hypothermia if left outside for too long in cold weather. This is especially true when it comes to pets with short fur and low body weight.

Shelter, Food and Water

However, if you have a working animal who is accustomed to being outdoors, it is not always necessary to bring them inside unless it gets extremely cold. If you have a barn cat or dog, be certain that he or she has an insulated shelter that will protect him or her from the elements.

Likewise, you’ll want to invest in a heated water bowl (that is full of fresh water at all times) and make certain that he or she has plenty of food. In cold weather such as this, your pet will require extra calories to keep warm, so don’t skimp on portions or skip a feeding.

However, if it gets really, really cold (dropping well into the negative temps), you may want to consider bringing your animal indoors until the system passes.

The Abominable Snow Dog

Did you know that dogs can lose their scent in the snow? A dog that panics off leash in a snowstorm may not be able to find its way home. Keep your dog leashed when in the snow and make sure that he or she is wearing identification.

Other Considerations

Pet safety doesn’t end with shelter, food, water and identification, however. Keep these considerations in mind as well when it comes to keeping your pet safe during the winter months:

  • Antifreeze is deadly to dogs, even in the smallest amounts. Keep this toxin capped and out of your pets’ reach and clean up spills immediately.
  • Deicer (both for your home and on the streets) and deicing salts can be toxic to pets as well. Keep your pet’s feet clean and clear of this substance to reduce the risk of consumption while grooming.
  • Likewise, ice and snow crystals can cause micro-abrasions on your pet’s feet. Another good reason to keep paws clean.
  • Your cat will likely want a liter box indoors during cold weather, but your dog does not have that luxury. Try and clear a spot out doors for your dog to go about his or her business and be patient with the time it takes.
  • Give your senior pets a little extra love when cold weather hits. Typically they’ll require extra food and water to stave off the chill. Likewise, spend time massaging your arthritic pet for increased circulation and warmth.
  • Don’t forget to help your pet stay active when it’s cold. This will help their physical and emotional health (and yours, too!)

If you have any other questions or concerns regarding cold weather safety for your pet, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.