Humans aren’t the only ones affected by the bone-chilling temperatures and heavy snowfall that often accompanies winter. Our pets are equally impacted and require some special preventive care in the wintertime.
Frostbite, falls and hypothermia should all be real concerns for pet owners, especially for those living in colder parts of the country.
Fortunately, with a little common sense and attention to detail, you will be able to protect your pets from the dangers of winter.
Give Them Shelter
It’s obviously best to keep pets inside during the winter months. Just because pets have fur doesn’t mean they’re not cold when the temperatures drop. No pets should be left outside for long periods of time in below-freezing weather.
If you are unable to keep your dog inside during cold weather, provide warm, solid shelter that protects against biting winds. Also provide plenty of fresh, non-frozen water to keep your pet hydrated. Use thick, dry bedding for a comfortable area for your pet to sleep.
Check the Paws
Your pet’s paws can become cracked or bloody if exposed to frigid winter conditions. Check your dog’s paws frequently for signs of injury. Watch how he or she walks and look for any sudden lameness or painful strides.
If you take your dog on a walk in conditions that have recently been snowy or icy, you may be exposing your pet’s paws to deicers, antifreeze or other chemicals that could be toxic at high levels. After your walk, always wash or wipe down your pet’s feet, belly and legs to remove these types of fluids.
Collar and Chip
Many pets get lost in the wintertime because snow and ice can make it harder for them to find their way home. That’s because these conditions can mask recognizable scents that a pet uses to navigate around your land or neighborhood.
This underscores the importance of always using a well-fitting collar that contains updated identification and contact information. Your veterinarian likely offers microchip services that provides a permanent form of identification if you keep the registration up to date. Check with your veterinarian to discuss your options.