How to protect your pets from winter weather
Dogs and cats need protection just like humans to stay healthy during the cold winter months. Follow these simple guidelines to ensure their safety and happiness when the temperature plummets.
Don't forget to keep your pets safe and warm during the winter season. Here's how you can help your furry friends.
When harsh winter weather hits, it can affect pets as much as people.
However, with the proper protection and preparation, pets can safely spend time outdoors amid the snow and cold.
When the temperatures drop low enough for people to wear winter coats, it may also be time for pet owners to bundle up their pets before heading outside.
“Many dogs enjoy walking outside in cold weather and playing in the snow,” Dr. Erin Wilson, medical director of the ASPCA, said.
“If dogs seem uncomfortable, then a sweater or jacket can be very helpful,” Wilson said.
Even dogs with thick winter fur can benefit from a coat or sweater during an outbreak of arctic air.
If pets do not have the proper protection from the chilly air, they can face heath risks similar to humans that are unprotected from the cold.
“Pets are sensitive to severe cold and are at risk for frostbite and hypothermia during extreme cold snaps," according to the Humane Society of the United States. “Exposed skin on noses, ears and paw pads can quickly freeze and suffer permanent damage."
If an animal is showing signs of frostbite or hypothermia, you should contact your veterinarian immediately.
Booties are another form of clothing for pets to not only keep their sensitive paws from getting frost bitten, but also to protect them from harmful chemicals, such as rock salt.
Sled dogs wear booties to protect their feet. (Photo/Romana Krochuk/Hemera/Thinkstock)
Animal experts also advise to check your dog's paws frequently for signs of cold-weather injury that can sometimes occur when ice accumulates between their toes. You may be able to reduce the chance of iceball accumulation by clipping the hair between the dog's toes, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.
People with pets that live primarily outside should take extra steps to ensure that their pet is safe during the winter months.
Across the continent this past week, people recorded their dogs enjoying snow to an extreme.
“Heated houses with lots of soft, warm blankets can be used by both dogs and cats,” Wilson said.
“Owners should also check water sources twice daily, to make sure that the water bowl hasn’t frozen over,” he added.
Regardless of whether pets live inside, owners should supply them with extra food as it takes more energy to stay warm in the winter time.
Major winter storms, such as blizzards, can affect pets of all kinds, including indoor pets.
People should always keep their pets in mind when preparing for a major storm and ensure that they have enough food to last several days following the storm in case travel is unsafe.
Additionally, major storms can lead to long-duration power outages, which may result in indoor temperatures dropping to dangerously low levels for pets.
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