Winter Weather Safety Tips
Proper grooming is a very important part of winter/cold weather health for your pet. Heavy and matted coats do not sufficiently protect your dog or cat from extremely cold conditions; especially if they spend time outdoors. If your pet does spend a significant amount of time outside in the cold, check their ears, paws, and tail for signs of frostbite regularly. Keeping the hair between the toes trimmed is important to help prevent the accumulation of snow and ice between the toes.
Identifying Weather-Related Distress
It is important to keep a watchful eye on your pets during the cold weather for signs of adverse reactions to the cold, especially if your pet spends a lot of time outside. Visible shaking/shivering, cowering, inability to stand/walk, repeatedly lifting up their feet, or continually trying to get inside the house or other warmer location. A simple rule of thumb for any animal owner is: if the temperature outside is too cold for you, it’s most likely too cold for your pet.
Animals that spend a good amount of their time outdoors may need more calories in the colder months to keep their body temperature up and to maintain proper body temperature, energy, and weight. Increasing calorie intake may also be necessary if your dog is highly active in the snow or winter in general for similar reasons. On the other hand, if your dog hunkers down on the couch around Thanksgiving and doesn’t get up until Easter, cutting down on their food intake may be necessary to maintain a lean healthy weight. To receive an official calorie calculation for your dog based on the food they eat and their winter activity level, please contact your veterinarian.
Making sure your pet always has access to clean, fresh water is imperative to their health throughout the year and the winter is no exception.
A pet becoming lost or separated from their owner is a terrible and frightening event for anybody at any time of the year. But during the winter cold temperatures and adverse winter weather make conditions for a lost dog even more life-threatening. This is why having adequate identification for your pet is vital to assist them being returned to you if found. ID tags that are securely attached to a well fitted collar is a reliable standard for animal identification. A microchip is a permanent form of identification in the form of a small computer chip with an ID number registered to it that can be scanned if your animal is found. The number is then traced back to the animal’s owner via registration paperwork.
Indoor Safety Hazards
The great outdoors isn’t the only place your pet might encounter risks during the colder months, hazards inside that owners might overlook are worth bearing in mind as well. Making sure pets can’t become burned or otherwise injured by space-heaters, fireplaces, or holiday candles is an important part of pet-proofing your home this winter. Also, keeping a close eye on pets to ensure they don’t ingest any holiday decorations, such as garland, tinsel, Christmas tree needles, Christmas tree water, ornaments, electrical cords, cords of lights, or numerous other items that are novel for your pet.