Cold Weather Tips for Your Furry Friend

Many pet owners wrongfully assume that their furry friend’s fur coat equips them to handle cold temperatures. However, many animals simply aren’t equipped to handle frigid temperatures for prolonged periods of time. These cold-weather tips can help protect your pets when they are playing or pottying outside this winter.

Not all pets can tolerate cold temperatures

Owner holding dog with santa hat onWhile our pet’s fur coats may seem like the perfect protection again winter weather, most pets are not able to withstand freezing temperatures for long periods of time. This is especially true for dogs and cats with short hair – the animal equivalent of wearing a t-shirt in sub-zero temperatures.

In winter, pets need protection from frigid weather and wet, wintry conditions; even animals adapted to cold weather, like huskies, need a warm, draft-free, and dry shelter. In addition, keep in mind that pet’s extremities such as their nose, ears, and paws are more vulnerable to damage during extremely cold weather.

Dressing pets for the weather

When outside temperatures drop, we put coats on; should we put coats on our pets, too?

The answer is yes – to a point. Most cats don’t tolerate clothing; even the most well-mannered cats are unlikely to enjoy wearing a sweater. Instead, save winter weather gear for our canine friends. Coats can help keep dogs warm on walks or when going potty outside. However, don’t leave a dog with clothes on unsupervised; if your pet tries to take them off, it can become a suffocation or strangulation risk.

Protect pup pads

Dog shoes may seem a little ridiculous, but boots are actually an excellent way to protect dog’s sensitive paw pads against snow, ice, and dangerous rock salt. Start by putting baby socks on your dog’s feet at home; this allows them to get used to the sensation of walking with something on their feet. Once they can successfully tolerate the socks, they’re ready to graduate to boots.

Keep outdoor cats safe

While some pet owners transition cats indoors for the winter months, other felines prefer to stay outdoors. In these cases, it is important to provide kitty with a safe, dry space to eat and sleep.

Once nighttime temperatures dip into the high 30s, outdoor pets should have a shelter. Cat shelters can be easy and inexpensive to make and maintain; pre-fabricated pet houses, wooden boxes, or even cardboard boxes can be used as cat shelters. Insulate the sides with plastic, fabric, or foam, then line the bottom with old blankets or bedding. Check the shelter daily to ensure the bedding is dry – and to make sure your cat’s water supply hasn’t frozen.

Putting cat shelters in a garage, on a covered porch, in a shed, or in another protected area can provide another degree of protection from the elements. Likewise, make sure food and water are in a secure area only your cat can access; you want to feed your pet – not the neighborhood raccoon population.

Remember: if it is too cold for you, it is probably too cold for your pet. This winter, follow these safety tips to ensure your pets stay safe and warm – no matter the temperature outside. for more information on winter pet safety tips, contact 5 Points Animal Hospital today!

By Dr. Janet Grace | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Cold Weather Tips for Your Furry Friend

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