Cold Weather Care for Pets
Unless you have Malamute or a Husky or some such heavy coated pet, chances are your dog or cat is somewhat cold and wet averse. Anyone who owns a short-coated dog certainly knows what we’re talking about. Images of a shivering chihuahua anyone? It’s good to remember a few things about our animals in cold or extremely damp weather. Here are a few tips.
Portions of the tips below were taken from the AVMA website.
- Cats hate the rain. Need we say more? Keep them indoors in this weather, and ideally, at all times.
- Dress them well! Your short coated or older dog will especially appreciate a warm coat or raincoat when going outdoors. Would you want to be naked outdoors in this weather?
- Know the limits. Just like people, pets’ cold tolerance can vary from pet to pet based on their coat, body fat stores, activity level, and health. Be aware of your pet’s tolerance for cold weather, and adjust accordingly. You will probably need to shorten your dog’s walks in very cold weather .
- Provide choices:Ever notice how your cat likes to sleep by the fire? Like you, pets prefer comfortable sleeping places and may change their location based on their need for more or less warmth. Give them some safe options to allow them to vary their sleeping place to adjust to their needs.
- Keep them indoors. Cats and dogs should be kept inside during cold weather. It’s a common belief that dogs and cats are more resistant than people to cold weather because of their fur, but it’s untrue. Like people, cats and dogs are susceptible to hypothermia and should be kept inside. Longer-haired and thick-coated dog breeds, such as huskies and other dogs bred for colder climates, are more tolerant of cold weather; but no pet should be left outside for long periods.
- Make some noise:A warm vehicle engine can be an appealing heat source for outdoor and feral cats, but it’s deadly. Check underneath your car, bang on the hood, and honk the horn before starting the engine to encourage feline hitchhikers to abandon their roost under the hood.
- Cars aren’t cool:Hot cars are a known threat to pets, but cold cars also pose a risk to your pet’s health. You’re already familiar with how a car can rapidly cool down in cold weather; it becomes like a refrigerator, and can rapidly chill your pet. Pets that are young, old, ill, or thin are particularly susceptible to cold environments and should never be left in cold cars.
- Prevent poisoning:If you’re travelling to colder places with your pet, remember how dangerous antifreeze can be. Antifreeze has a sweet taste and is deceiving to pets. Even small amounts of antifreeze spills can be deadly.
Recognize problems: If your pet is whining, shivering, seems anxious, slows down or stops moving, seems weak, or starts looking for warm places to burrow, get them back inside quickly because they are showing signs of hypothermia. damage is done. If you suspect your pet has hypothermia or frostbite, consult your veterinarian immediately.