HEALTH GUIDE

Protect your pet from the cold this winter

JUST LIKE HUMANS, OUR PETS ALSO NEED PROTECTION FROM THE COLD

Many people think that dogs are able to be left outside in the cold weather and this is, unfortunately, a common misconception!

Here are some simple tips to help your pet remain safe and comfortable when it’s cold outside:
 

  • • Pets should never be left outside for long periods in freezing weather because they can get frostbite (especially on the pads of the feet, ears and tail) or even freeze to death. Bring your pets inside during cold temperatures and winter storms.
  • • Monitor your pets at all times when they are outdoors in below freezing weather – especially pets who are kept indoors most of the time who will not have adapted to the cold weather by growing thicker coats or thicker paw pads.
  • • Sweaters, jackets and boots can all help keep your pet warm while outdoors but remember that coats and boots will not prevent frostbite on the ears or tail, so try not to be outside in the cold too long even if he’s wearing a warm coat. Avoid walking smaller, short-coated breeds altogether when it is very cold.
  • • Chemical de-icers and salt can irritate your pet’s paws and can cause damage to the foot pads. Always rinse or wipe your dog’s paws to remove any salt so that he doesn’t lick it off. Snow and ice can also accumulate between your pet’s toes, causing pain as well as bleeding and sores. Prevent balls of ice from developing between your dog’s pads by trimming any long fur around his paws and in between his toes. You may also apply Vaseline or other specialized balms to his paws for added protection. If your dog shows signs of discomfort when walking outside on frozen or salted surfaces, consider using dog booties to protect his paws.
  • • If there is a snowstorm, make sure you keep your dog on a leash when he goes out to relieve himself. During a storm, your pet can lose its scent and become disoriented or lost.
  • Cold, damp weather can aggravate your pet’s arthritis so be extra careful in the winter with older dogs that suffer from this condition.
  • • An outdoor dog needs an insulated doghouse that is elevated and dry. He should always have clean, dry bedding and there should also be a flap over the door to keep the wind out. Provide fresh, clean water at all times. Frozen water in outside bowls is a problem, so check it often and use a plastic bowl instead of a metal one. Consider buying a heated dog bowl.
  • • When possible allow your dog to stay in the garage if you can’t bring him into your home. You may make your pet comfortable by placing some nice thick, warm bedding in the warmest area for him to sleep. Make sure your garage is free of dangerous, toxic substances like antifreeze.
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