Just because they have fur coats doesn't mean pets don't get cold. Follow these tips to keep your pet happy and safe during colder months!
Just because they have fur coats doesn’t mean pets don’t get cold. Pets left outside in extreme temperatures are at risk for hypothermia, frostbite and death. Leaving your pet out in the cold without proper shelter is considered neglect and is illegal in every state.
Follow these tips to keep your pet happy and safe during colder months:
Bring Your Pet Inside: Wind chill makes the air colder than actual temperature readings, so limit your pet’s time outdoors, especially to prevent frostbite on ears, tail and feet. Once outside, make sure to gradually provide exposure to dropping temperatures, instead of exposing them to the extreme cold all at once. Don’t forget to dry your pet when you bring them back in, especially the paws to prevent tiny cuts and cracked pads.
Provide Adequate Shelter: Adequate shelter is mandatory by law. If your dog lives outdoors, you must provide a well-insulated and draft-free doghouse. The opening should face south with a sturdy, flexible covering to prevent icy winds from entering. Keep straw NOT hay, since it retains moisture, inside the doghouse. Avoid towels and blankets which can easily dampen and make the space colder.
Beware Of Antifreeze And Rock Salt: Antifreeze, which often collects on driveways and roads, tastes good to pets, but is poisonous. If you suspect your pet has ingested antifreeze, contact your veterinarian immediately! Also, rock salt which used to melt ice on sidewalks, can irritate footpads. Be sure to rinse and dry your pet's feet after being outside, and consider buying pet-safe ice melts, sold at pet stores, that get the job done, but won’t harm your pets.
Provide Plenty Of Food And Water: It takes more energy in the winter to keep warm, so feed your pet extra food if they spend a lot of time outdoors. Also, provide plenty of fresh water. Your pet is just as likely to get dehydrated in the winter as in the summer. Outside water bowls will freeze, so refill outside bowls often.
Warn Cats Before Starting Your Car: When it’s cold outside, cats often look for any warm space they can find. Cats who seek shelter under the hoods of cars are often injured or killed when that car is started. Before you start your car, honk your horn to give cats a chance to escape.