Cold Weather Tips for Pets

Brrrrr! Most of this weather is apparently moving off, and not soon enough. This article would have been more timely a few weeks ago with the snowfall, but as it lingers, it appears to be getting even more bitter.

Screen shot 2013-11-20 at 9.49.37 PMHere are some suggestions for helping our furred and feathered friends cope.
For dogs, pay special attention to their paws when returning inside. Several years ago, a young girl invented Brushless Paw Wash and made millions. Sorry, but I searched it, all I could find were different companies that sell it, and I am not endorsing anyone at all, although I do like this one.

I put away all my buckets and towels and use this – as the paw is being pulled out of the water, a series of rubber fingers squeezes the water out of the paw. Washing paws is necessary due to the caustic salt chemicals used to melt snow.
If you have short coated dogs or pug faced dogs, it is very important to pay attention to their skin color. Turning red, or even worse, white, is a sign of impending frost bite and they should be returned inside immediately. This time of year is a very good time to find nice sales on dog coats – yippee! Let’s go shopping.

Cats face risks of similar injuries, but one of a more sinister type. They frequently crawl up into warm car engines and can be severely wounded, even killed. Stomp loudly up to your car, vocalize, even bang on the hood and then check under for a scared kitty who has dropped down and still needs to run away.

Many of us have much adored chickens, ducks and geese. Although the waterfowl wear little downy coats, their faces and feet are as susceptible to frost bite. Keeping their feet and beaks tucked up under their wings and be helpful. It is not advisable to provide heat as this throws their bodies under stress when they return outside to the cold. Providing warm water is very much appreciated, and feeding whole corn also provides the body with heat from the calories of the food. Make sure that there is plenty of warm, clean, dry straw or shavings (never Cedar, though) and change regularly. This will give you a nice start to your compost for summer gardening.

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Until next time, stay warm! And thanks, Doug, for letting me participate, I really enjoy your community and following your blogs and your contributors. Dorene

Dorene Olson, TARA Training and Behavior, LLC

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