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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!

Keep Your Pets Warm This Winter

One of 5 Points Animal Hospital’s favorite neighborhood spots, the Shelby Dog Park is a popular place throughout the year fordog with scarf dogs to run and play while their owners make new friends, catch up with familiar faces, and enjoy fresh air and sunshine.

However, the moderate weather we usually enjoy can get bitterly cold from time to time during the winter, and you may wonder how safe it is for you and your dog to be outside for longer than a few minutes when the temperature drops below freezing. To help keep your pets warm this winter, we would like to share with you a few tips. When it comes to the health and safety of your pets, you can count on us to help you take care of your four-legged babies.

KEEP ALL PETS INSIDE AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE

When the temperature drops below freezing, you should keep your dogs and cats inside your home with you and your family, according to the Humane Society of the United States. Even if your cat normally roams around outside during the rest of the year, it is vital that he stay indoors when it is this cold. If your dog must stay outside during the day, you must provide him with an appropriately sized shelter to protect him from the wind, rain, and snow. Make sure the floor of the shelter is raised up a few inches above the ground.

PAY ATTENTION ON WALKS

Although it is recommended to keep your pets inside when it is below freezing, you should still take your dog on short walks at least a couple times a day. When it is this cold, the windchill can be dangerous by increasing the risk for frostbite and hypothermia. If your dog is short-haired, he may be more comfortable wearing a sweater. Another thing you should be careful about when walking your dog is rock salt. It can irritate his paw pads. Just be sure to wipe all of his feet off with a damp towel as soon as you can to keep him from licking them because it can irritate his mouth. If your dog does happen to ingest any rock salt, contact 5 Points Animal Hospital immediately. The sooner we can treat your dog for salt poisoning, the better.

Stay warm and cozy with your pets this winter. Contact us at 5 Points Animal Hospital for any more tips on how to keep your furry friends safe and healthy this season.

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.

Tips for Traveling with Your Dog Safely

Tips for Traveling with Your Dog Safely Image - Nashville TN - 5 Points Animal HospitalIf you are planning on bringing your dog along on your summer road trip, it is important to remember a few safety tips to make the ride more enjoyable for your pet. While many dogs love to ride in the car, even those dogs can become anxious on long trips. 5 Points Animal Hospital would like to share with you some tips on traveling with your dog safely that can help your trip be a great success.

Get your dog used to your car.

If your dog loves riding in the car, you will not have to worry about him not being used to it, but if your dog has anxiety about car rides, you can help him feel more secure about being in the car. Start by sitting in your car with your dog in your driveway. Let him explore and sniff the seats. Then, take your dog on short trips to let him get used to riding in the car.

Ensure you have a safe and well-ventilated place for your dog in your car.

If your dog will be traveling in his crate, you will want to check to be sure fresh air will be able to flow into the crate. If your dog will not be in his crate, never let him ride with his head hanging out the window as this could cause an eye injury. You should also never allow your dog to ride in the back of an open truck. The American Kennel Club (AKC) states that this is very dangerous and can lead to severe injuries and even death.

Bring a supply of food and water.

If you have not traveled by car with your dog before, you may want your dog to start the trip on an empty stomach to avoid car sickness. You will want to have plenty of water for the trip as well as a supply of his regular food. You should also remember to bring any medications your dog needs.

Make frequent stops.

You will want to stop often to allow your dog to get some exercise and have a potty break. Long car rides can be very boring for dogs, so these stops will help to break up the monotony of riding in the car for hours. When your dog does go to the bathroom, be sure to clean up after him.

Never leave your dog unattended in your car.

Leaving your dog alone in a hot car, even for a few minutes, can be very dangerous to your dog’s health. If you have to leave your car, ask a member of your family to stay with the dog in the car with the windows open.

Traveling with your dog can be lots of fun if you follow these safety suggestions. Contact us at 5 Points Animal Hospital if you have any questions about traveling with your dog.

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