Keep Your Pets Safe in Cold Weather

Dog Listening Weather Image - Nashville TN - 5 Points Animal Hospital You hear a lot about how dangerous the summer heat can be for pets, but freezing cold temperatures can be just as hazardous. Winter weather can pose some hazards and other problems for dogs and cats, and it is important to be aware of certain situations. Following a few cold weather safety practices can keep your pets happy and healthy all winter long. 5 Points Animal Hospital would like to share some tips with you to help you make sure your pets are safe and warm this winter.

Know your pet’s limits.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) certain factors of your pet determine his tolerance to cold weather. Based on his coat, amount of body fat, health, and level of activity, he may be able to stay outside in the cold longer than your neighbor’s dog. If your dog has arthritis or is elderly, it can be more difficult to tolerate cold weather and to walk on snow and ice. Pets with diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease, and other health issues can be more susceptible to extreme temperatures because they have a more difficult time regulating their body temperature.

Keep your pet inside during cold weather.

Some people mistakenly believe that dogs and cats can handle being outside in cold weather because of their fur coats, but pets are just as susceptible to hypothermia and frostbite as humans are. Even if you have a long-haired dog like a husky, you should never leave your pet outside for an extended period of time when the temperature drops below freezing.

Be careful when starting your car.

If you have outdoor and feral cats living in your neighborhood, you should always knock on the hood of your car before you start the engine during the winter. These cats tend to sleep under the hoods of cars during periods of freezing weather. Making a bit of noise allows a cat to escape from under the hood before you start up your car.

Take a look at your dog’s paws.

Frequently check your dog’s paws for cracked paw pads and bleeding as these are signs of injuries or damage from cold weather. Your dog’s feet can pick up ice balls as well as toxic chemicals from deicers and antifreeze during walks, so you should always wipe off your dog’s paws when you get home from your walks.

Stay away from ice.

You should always avoid frozen lakes, ponds, and other water when on walks with your dog. You can never tell if the ice can support the weight of your dog, and if your dog falls through the ice, it can be a deadly situation.
5 Points Animal Hospital wants you and your pets to stay safe and warm this winter. Contact us if you would like to know more winter weather safety tips for your dogs and cats.

By Dr. Janet Grace | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

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