Cold Weather and Your Pet
DID YOU KNOW? Many pet owners are aware of the potential dangers that come with hot weather, and know that leaving pets in hot cars can be life threatening. But many don’t realize that cold weather poses just as much a threat to your pet’s health.
Winter weather can be very unpredictable. From sudden freezing temperatures, to straight blizzards, to power outages, it’s important to always have an emergency plan in place during winter months. Make sure to keep your veterinarian information handy, as well as making sure you don’t get too low on medications, food, and preventions. It’s also important that your pet have at least an annual check up, but it’s strongly advised for a bi-annual check up, so your pet can have a winter wellness check. As colder weather moves in, medical conditions can worsen in pets, such as arthritis and asthma. You may notice that your pet’s weight can also fluctuate in the colder months – some owner’s feel that some extra weight is helpful to pets so they find themselves feeding extra food to their pets. This can have a negative effect on your pet’s health, so make sure to keep an eye on their body composition. Please consult your veterinarian with questions regarding feeding for your pet during the winter months.
Knowing your pets limits are essential when living in colder weather. Every dog is different, from their coats, to their body compositions, to activity level – so it is important to be aware of your pet’s tolerance for the colder temperatures. For instance, older pets may have more difficulties going on walks due to snow and ice, potentially causing falls and/or slips. Pet’s with certain diseases such as hormonal imbalances (Cushing’s disease), or heart/kidney disease, or diabetes, may have a harder time controlling their body temperature when out on walks. Short-haired pets start to feel cold faster, due to less fur protection, and pets with shorter legs may become colder faster due to having their bodies closer to the snow/ground. Long-haired, or double coated dogs may be more cold-tolerant, but should still be monitored with outside activities. If you are needing help determining your pet’s temperature limit’s, please do not hesitate to reach out to us!
When going out in colder weather, some pets may require an extra layer of protection. Sweaters and jackets can be great tools to help your pet maintain their body temperature. Just be sure that any clothing on your pet is fit properly, and dry – as wet clothes could make your pet colder. Some pets can tolerate booties on their paws, protecting them from any potential cuts, or cracked paws, as well as protecting them from hazardous toxins that could potentially be found on the ground, such as antifreeze.
Winter weather can be much fun for furry family members to enjoy, just make sure to pay close attention to your pet and their cold tolerance. At the first sign of any distress, please contact us as soon as possible!