Pet Health in Winter
Cold weather care for your pets is a lot about common sense, but it’s always good to have a friendly reminder. Winter weather in the south can be somewhat of a challenge. One day it may reach the 70’s and then the next night it drops below freezing. There’s never a consistent pattern so it’s important to take into consideration how the temperature outside can affect your pets. Take extra care by following the seven simple tips below to keep your furry friends safe and happy this season.
Cold Weather Care for Your Pets Tips:
1. Don’t leave your dog or cat in the car while running winter errands. A cold vehicle mimics a refrigerator, keeping cold air in and causing dogs and cats to freeze even more quickly than they would outside in the elements.
2. To keep your dog more comfortable during outdoor winter walks, always make sure he is fully dry when going outside post-bath, and consider a coat or sweater for short-haired breeds. If you’re accustomed to shaving your long-haired dog down to the skin, refrain from doing this in the winter.
3. Always use a clean towel to wipe your dog’s coat when bringing him inside after a walk or other trip out into the elements. Road salt, antifreeze and other dangerous chemicals can stick to his coat, especially around his paws, legs and stomach, and you don’t want him to ingest them later while licking his coat.
4. Keep your cat indoors during cold weather, as dropping temperatures carry an increased risk of death or illness caused by exposure to the elements.
5. If you know of outdoor or stray cats in your neighborhood, take extra care when starting your car. In cold temperatures, cats like to sleep under the hood for warmth. Avoid harming a friendly stray by knocking on your vehicle’s hood a few times before starting the engine.
6. Keep your dog leashed during the winter, even if she can usually be trusted to stay near you or find her way home. Ice and snow can cause dogs to lose their scent, which is part of the reason that winter is the time of year when more dogs are lost than in any other season.
7. Keep a cozy, warm blanket or pet bed in your home that is set away from drafty areas. Dogs and cats aren’t able to retain as much body heat when snoozing directly on the floor, so providing an elevated and insulated alternative is imperative this time of year.
Dr. Charles Whitworth has been taking care of pets for over 25 years. He’s a veterinarian you can trust with your cats and dogs. Whitworth Animal Clinic is located in Madison, AL.
For more about cold weather care for your pets read this article from aspca.org.