Chances are, you’ve probably heard about health and safety concerns regarding pets and extreme heat; but as the temperature drops outside, it’s just as important to make sure that your pets are warm in the winter. Your pet may be happier, more comfortable, and healthier if you can make a few basic changes to your daily routine in the winter. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Not All Pets Have The Same Tolerances
It’s important to remember that cold weather safety is not one size fits all when it comes to taking your pets outside. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association: “Long-haired or thick-coated dogs tend to be more cold-tolerant, but are still at risk in cold weather. Short-haired pets feel the cold faster because they have less protection, and short-legged pets may become cold faster because their bellies and bodies are more likely to come into contact with snow-covered ground.”
This means that just because one dog might be comfortable with spending lots of time outside in the winter, that doesn’t mean that all dogs will be comfortable on long walks. An individual animal’s needs will also change over the course of their life. Pets who develop arthritis or health conditions that impact their ability to maintain a consistent body temperature will need to spend less time outside. Clothing like sweaters and coats can be helpful, just make sure that they don’t end up overheating.
Make Changes At Home
Being ready for winter weather isn’t just a concern outside. You may also need to make changes around your home. Pay attention to parts of your home that tend to be cold, such as windows or doors that may let in a draft. While your cat may normally prefer to perch near a window so they can watch the birds and squirrels outside, you may want to move their cat tree or bed to a warmer location. You may also want to reconsider how much access your pet has to the outdoors in the winter and limit the time they spend enjoying your backyard!
Keep An Eye Out For Stray Pets
Often, outdoor or feral cats will seek out the shelter of a warm car’s engine to stay warm on cold nights. Before you start your car, make sure to alert a dozing cat to your presence by banging on the hood or loudly shutting the door so they can get away before things get dangerous! You will also want to look beneath your car to see if any animals are sleeping underneath. You can avoid these dangers for your pet by keeping them safely inside.
Take Care Of Their Paws
When you’re taking your dogs out for a walk, pay special attention to their paws. If it is particularly cold, pet paws might crack or bleed. If you’re in an area where there is ice or snow on the ground, it might get stuck between their toes and be very uncomfortable! You will also want to wipe down their feet (and their belly if it may have come in contact with the ground) after a walk as products like deicers and antifreeze are poisonous and can make your pet very sick if they lick their feet.
Consider A Winter Wellness Check
If you’re concerned about your pet’s health this winter, it’s a great idea to make an appointment with your vet. They can help you understand any potential health problems that may be aggravated by cold weather, such as arthritis, and help ensure that your pet is maintaining a healthy weight which will help them stay at a comfortable temperature. Contact the Bregman Veterinary Group today to make an appointment and get started on good health this winter!