Be Prepared to Protect Your Pets
Alabama winter weather can be less than dependable! It goes from a week of warm to freezing the next. So you need to be prepared when it comes to your pets when the cold weather sets in. What is certain, winter can be difficult for people as well as most animals. In truth, your pets rely on you for their wellbeing. So keeping them safe and warm in the winter months is important to their health.
Even with their warm and fuzzy fur coat and their naturally tough paw pads, your pooch is still vulnerable when those cold, winter days and nights set in. Cold weather pet protection depends on you!
Inside or Outside
If your pet generally spends most of their time outdoors then you may want to take extra precautions during the coldest months of winter. Most dogs can tolerate more frigid temperatures to a point. However, they do need us to pay attention to signs that they are uncomfortable or suffering from debilitating ailments such as hypothermia. Thankfully, they exhibit similar symptoms to the cold as humans do. They tend to seek warmth by heaters or in blankets, shiver, and show tendencies of being lethargic. Here are some things you can look for to ensure that your pup is warm and healthy during the coldest time of the year.
Keeping Your Dog Warm and Dry
The simplest way to keep your pooch happy is to make sure they are warm and dry. Even if your dog is outside the majority of the time during the summer months, bring them indoors in the winter. You can introduce your dog gradually to lower temperatures to help them acclimate to colder temperatures in a healthy way, rather than expose them to extreme temperatures for extended periods of time. A good rule to keep in mind is that if it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for your dog.
Fresh Water and Food
If you have outdoors pets, they need to keep hydrated and well nourished, especially in the winter. In cold months, animals require more food to stay warm. This is because it takes more energy to stay warm when it is cold outside. Oftentimes food and water will freeze overnight. Just make sure that your animals have plenty of fresh water and food.
Diet for Indoor Animals
An indoor animal has different dietary needs than an outdoor animal. Oftentimes they are overfed and they will gain too much weight during cold months of the year. Plus a pet that is overweight is susceptible to health issues.
And like people, cats and dogs tend to get less exercise when it is cold outside. As well, indoor pets try to sustain their energy by sleeping more in the winter. Adjusting your pets’ diet accordingly, is the best preventative for gaining too much weight.
Antifreeze is extremely toxic to animals and can cause fatal kidney failure. Unfortunately, dogs and cats find the liquid quite tasty and will eagerly drink it up when given the chance.
Contact Dr. Whitworth immediately if you see your pet drinking antifreeze or suspect it had access to antifreeze. Very small amounts of antifreeze can be fatal.
For example, a cat can ingest a fatal amount of antifreeze by simply licking its paws after walking through a puddle of the chemical. Five tablespoons are enough to kill a medium-sized dog.
Cold Weather Pet Protection – Avoiding Frostbite
Like people, animals can also get frostbite. For that reason, it is very important that you keep your pet warm, especially if they are an indoor animal. Pay particular attention to your pet’s ears, paws and the tips of the tail. Early warning signs of frostbite include waxy, firm skin and blisters. Moreover, some animals may require special booties, hats and coats for when their outdoor walks.
Special Care at Whitworth Animal Clinic
If you are not sure what type of diet your pets needs for the winter months or suspect frostbite, contact a specialist as soon as possible. And if you live in Madison or the surrounding areas of north Alabama, Whitworth Animal Clinic is highly recommended by many animal lovers. In fact, Dr. Charles Whitworth is a licensed veterinarian who has been treating cats and dogs since 1981. And at Whitworth Animal Clinic you can feel confident that your pet will receive the best of care possible.
For more tips on how to protect your pets in winter months refer to the Humane Society’s safety guide.