Protecting Your Pets From the Cold

Cats (3)
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Cats (3)

In many areas, winter is a season of bitter cold and numbing wetness. Extra precautions during winter months will make sure your four-footed family members stay safe and warm. Cold and wet weather can pose a real risk for our pets lives. We have a few tips to keep your dogs and cats warm in this brutally cold weather. As a momma to 3 cats, I know I would do just about anything to make sure my three girls stay happy and healthy.

BRING YOUR PET INSIDE

Don’t leave your pet outside in the cold for prolonged periods of time. Remember — thermometers might show one temperature, but wind chills can make it feel much, much colder. Limit time outdoors and be mindful of frostbite on ears, tail and paws. If you run with your dog, pay attention to cold paws and, if it gets too cold, leave your pup at home.

ACCLIMATE YOUR PET TO COLD WEATHER

If your pets spend a lot of time outdoors, make sure to introduce them gradually to dropping temperatures, rather than exposing them to the extreme cold all at once.

PROVIDE ADEQUATE SHELTER

Adequate shelter is mandated 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. Line the floors of the shelter with straw, not hay. Towels and blankets can become damp or freeze, making the space colder.

BEWARE OF ANTIFREEZE AND ROCK SALT

Antifreeze often collects on driveways and roadways. Although it smells and tastes sweet to your pet, it is lethally poisonous. If you suspect your pet has ingested antifreeze, contact your veterinarian immediately! Deicing products like rock salt can irritate foot-pads. Be sure to rinse and dry your pet’s feet after being outside. Pet stores often carry pet-safe ice melts that do the job and won’t harm your pets.

DRY OFF WET PETS

A wet pet is a cold pet. Towel or blow-dry your pet if he gets wet from rain or snow. Also, it is important to clean and dry paws to prevent tiny cuts and cracked pads.

PROVIDE PLENTY OF FOOD AND WATER

It takes more energy in the winter to properly regulate body temperature, so your pet needs additional calories if he spends a lot of time playing or working outdoors. Your pet is just as likely to get dehydrated in the winter as in the summer, so be sure to provide plenty of fresh water. Snow is not a substitute for water. Refill outside bowls often to prevent freezing.

CAREFULLY KEEP PETS WARM INSIDE

Keep your pets warm, dry and away from drafts while inside. Space heaters and other supplemental heat sources can burn your pet. Keep portable heaters out of reach and make sure all fireplaces have adequate screening. And, of course, never leave your pet alone with an unattended fire.

GROOM REGULARLY

Your pet needs a well-groomed coat to keep him properly insulated. Short- or coarse-haired dogs might get extra cold so consider a sweater or a coat. Long-haired dogs should have their paw hair trimmed to ease in cleaning and snow removal.

I hope that your pets stay safe during this winter and probably the best thing for winter’s woes is to keep your animals inside where it is nice and warm. Dogs and cats are social animals who crave human companionship. Your animal companions deserve to live indoors with you and your family to enjoy daily family time and love. This will truly make your pets the happiest animals on the block!

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Cyndee is a mom of 3, one with Autism as his Super Power, trying to make her way through college and life with MS and without getting multiple restraining orders...Living in Mt. Airy, N.C and married to her best friend and side-kick Jack, aka Not-So-Rude-Dad.....Welcome to our craziness.
  • Angela Kinder

    My 10-year-old cat tends to get cold, even when our winters here in Texas are mild. But we have a space heater and since she tends to jump in her sleep (does she dream she jumping hurdles or something?), I was worried she would either knock it over and burn herself if she slept in front of it, so I put a blanket about 5 feet from the heater so she can still stay warm and safe at the same time.

  • Dede

    Our dog stays indoors but she does go outside first thing in the morning. Since the temps here are supposed to get down to single digits next week, I bought her several sweaters today!

  • Kathleen Ophelan-Levine

    My dog stays indoors but goes out once at night. Thanks for the great tips.

  • Lisa K

    These are great tips. Now if only everybody would go by them. I live in Michigan and Monday and Tuesday is going to be record lows. 40 below on Tuesday. I really hope people bring their pets in. I have a Himalayan cat, she is 100% indoors. I have an 8 month old Great Pyrenees puppy, he loves to be outside in the cold and the snow and he gets upset with me when I make him come in after about 5 to 10 minutes… it’s too cold out there. My heart goes out to the pets who get left outside… especially in this really bad weather we are having. Thank you for posting this, I hope a lot of people read it and get a better understanding of the importance to bring your pets in.

  • Cheryl

    Thank you for the information! These are great tips! :)

  • Crystal Cochran Delao

    Thanks for the great tips….my dogs love their sweaters…

  • Linda Gabbard

    Iget angry when I see pets left outside in the cold and rain and in the summer when its hot.
    I believe that domestic animals should not live outside. If you have a pet treat it right give it a place in your home . Take care of them as you would any other member of your family.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sandyrgcain Sandy Cain

    So sad to see pets that are used to being indoors left out to the mercy of the weather! Not just in the winter now, but in the summer, people leave their dogs in the car with the windows rolled up, in the bright sunshine and heat. Thanks for these reminders! Please, everyone, remember your animals – they can’t tell you with words when they’re hot or cold.

  • anita leibert

    Thank you for sharing these important tips. I have an older dog that I treat so well that he gets more attention than my husband!! I follow everything you’ve mentioned above to ensure that he is well taken care of. I only wish that everyone would do the same

  • MintaBoggs

    I don’t have pets that are outside just a parakeet and he is too spoiled wouldn’t know what to do if he saw outside probably get scared and want back in..lol then fish, and a gecko but I do understand the importance of keeping your pets in when it’s cold outside I see a lot of people around the neighborhood that doesn’t abide by that rule. Thanks for sharing!

  • Mary

    Great tips thanks!

  • Stephanie Strollo

    There is a post on facebook that has an igloo cooler flipped upside down with a hole cut at the bottom for cars to crawl into. How to save a stray!!!! I love the idea, I know most people want to get rid of strays but really who wants them to freeze to death?