Make sure to keep your pets warm this winter season! They are susceptible to frostbite as well as hypothermia. So here are some ideas for you to help in this fight against cold weather:
*Taking your pets out for the first time in the cold weather can be a real shock to their system, so make sure to allow them to slowly acclimate to the weather. The first time, make sure to keep them on a harness and leash and allow them to explore. Make sure to cut down on their time outside. Depending on how they handle it the first few times will then allow you to know just how your pet will handle the weather. Also make sure to treat the pads of their feet as with cold weather it can cause painful cracking. Call our office about products that we carry or you may consider purchasing the paw or snout smoother online.
*How they will acclimate to the cold and snow can also depend on their specific breed as well as age. Puppies and older pets have a harder time regulating their body temperature so you want to make sure to adjust to their needs. This is also very true for different breeds! Some may have longer and thicker coats and that helps to create a nice barrier between them and the cold weather, Larger breed dogs also have an advantage as well by being farther up from the cold ground and snow. Shorthaired breeds as well as smaller breeds will have a much more difficult time keeping their temperatures regulated as well! For our pets that seem to get colder much quicker, you may want to consider expanding their wardrobe! Buy them nice sweaters for inside and outside as well as booties that will help to also protect their feet.
*Make Potty Time Quicker and Easier. You can do this by cutting down on the time that they are outside to go to the bathroom. It also helps to shovel out a clearing for your pet to visit for their bathroom breaks. This will make it easier and safer for them to use the bathroom and keep them from exploring too far into the cold weather. Since they are not visiting outside as often due to the cold weather they will begin to have pent up energy. To relieve this you can look in your local area for a play gym or Doggie Daycare as well as also introducing a treat puzzle to their days to help keep them entertained for some time.
*Watch for areas where rock salt or antifreeze may be laid down. While rock salt is not necessarily toxic to pets it can cause an upset stomach and digestive issues. Antifreeze on the other hand is extremely toxic to pets so make sure that they do not walk through areas of blue or green discoloration.
*If your pet should get too cold there are a few things that you can try to help bring their body temperature back up. First always make sure to call your vet to let them know of the situation. Otherwise you can follow some of these tips:
- Place a towel or blanket into a dryer for a few minutes to allow it to warm up and then wrap it around your pet.
- Use a blow dryer on the lowest setting so as not to burn your pet. Make sure to hold it away from the pet as apposed to against the skin.
- Fill up a few long tube socks with rice and tie off the end. You can warm them up in the microwave for around 2 minutes. Make sure to test them on your wrist before placing them near your pet to make sure that they are not too warm for your pet. Place them along your pet under a blanket.
- Along with the above tips, and even when their temps are not too low consider placing their wet food in the microwave for a few seconds. They will appreciate it on cold day just as much as you love a cup of hot cocoa!
- A dogs temperature should fit within around 99.5 – 102.5. You will have to take their temp by placing a thermometer into the rectum, so make sure to always keep one handy for your pets.
Cats: (Although cats do not normally go outside, here are a few options for your feline companions)
*For barn cats or any outside cat. You can put out an insulated Rubbermaid bin to protect from the cold weather. You can also keep the garage or barn accessible.
*Try not to place indoor cats bed too close to the windows unless their is tight seal around the outer edges that does not allow for a draft.
*Give them plenty of warm sleeping areas. Sleep sacks work perfectly!
*Warm their wet food for a few seconds in the microwave to allow for a tasty warm treat!
*If you have a shorthaired cat or a hairless breed that prevents them from keeping warm enough during the cold months, you may want to consider expanding their wardrobe. X-Small and Small in dogs can fit them just right!
We hope that this helps you and your pets to keep safe and warm this winter season!