Sleet and snow are a sure sign that winter has arrived. It’s a good time to remember that, even with their fur coats, pets are susceptible to cold weather woes, too. Keep your fur babies safe and warm this winter with these tips.
- Bring in all pets when temperatures drop below 32°. Frostbite is a real threat to an animal exposed to harsh, cold weather.
- For pets that must be kept outdoors, provide waterproof shelter, such as a dog house, with dry bedding (straw is a great option). Never use towels or blankets in a dog house. Cloth can freeze when wet, which is worse for pets than no insulation at all.
- Rock salt and de-icers are hazardous when ingested by an animal and are very irritating to an animal’s paws. Thoroughly wipe off your pet’s paws when she comes in from the ice or snow.
- Antifreeze, even in tiny doses, is a lethal poison to cats and dogs. Because of its sweet taste, animals are attracted to it, so be sure to clean up any spills from your vehicle and store antifreeze in a safe place.
- Do not leave your pet alone in a car during cold weather. Long-term exposure to low temperatures can lead to hypothermia.
- A well-balanced diet is essential during cold weather. Increase your pet’s supply of food to keep his fur thick and healthy. If your pet stays outdoors, check his water regularly to make sure it isn’t frozen.
- Puppies and small dogs do not tolerate the cold as well as larger adult dogs. Placing newspaper down on the porch or yard can make housetraining easier for them.
- If you own a short-haired breed or a small dog, consider buying a sweater for your dog. While it may seem like a luxury, sweaters offer extra protection from the elements to animals who need it.