Sunday, December 30, 2012

Keep your pets warm too!

Pets need special care in the cold weather just like people do! Here are some tips to help keep your pets healthy this winter:

  • Feed your pet a little extra when it’s cold. Pets need extra calories to produce energy during cold weather.
  • Plenty of fresh water is essential during cold weather to avoid pet dehydration. Warm up the water and add a little honey or a bouillon cube to encourage your pet to drink. Chicken noodle soup is great and most pets enjoy a bowl every now and then.

  • Groom your dog and cat regularly to remove mats. This helps your pet’s hair coat to properly insulate your pet so that he or she can stay warm during cold weather spells.
  • Some pets don't mind wearing clothes and if they have short fur coats an extra coat can really help!
  • Store antifreeze in tightly closed containers, kept high up out of paw reach in secured cabinets. The sweet smell can attract pets so if you spill some use cat litter or sand to absorb the fluid and will prevent pets from eating it.
  •  De-icing chemicals are also hazardous. The salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice can irritate the pads of your pet’s feet. If your pet will not tolerate wearing slip-on boots then be sure to wipe their paws with a damp towel every time after coming in from outdoors–even if you don’t see salt on walkways.

  •  Look closely in between your dog’s toes for balls of ice that can form and become quite painful. Warm water will also help dissolve any lingering ice. Take preventive care before heading out in the snow: trim the hair around your dog’s pads and apply a small amount of Vaseline, cooking oil or spray between his toes.
  •  Check your dog’s nails and pads carefully; snow can hide sharp objects that can cause an injury, and pads can become discolored from the cold, appearing red, grey or white with some peeling due to frostbite. Thaw your dog’s pads slowly by applying warm, moist towels until the area becomes flushed.
  • Visit your Vet to be sure your dogs and cats are healthy! Pets, like people, are more susceptible to health issues in cold weather.

  •  Don’t leave pets outdoors when the temperature drops below freezing. Dogs need outdoor exercise but take care not to keep them out for lengthy periods during very cold weather. Short-coated dogs may feel more comfortable wearing a sweater during walks. Dogs and cats are safer indoors in all sorts of weather. Animals should never be left outdoors unattended as they risk being stolen or otherwise being harmed.

  • Car engines are a favorite for many outdoor cats who enjoy curling up for the evening near warm car engines. Before starting your car this winter, take a quick look under your hood and/or honk your horn, just to be sure no unexpected feline automobile friends decided to spend the night with you.

  •  If you have a dog that lives outdoor year round consider covering the top of the kennel with a water-resistant tarpaulin, or other protective covering, this will protect your dog from the elements. Or, consider placing a doghouse inside of the kennel, so that the dog has safe shelter from rain, snow and driving winds. Additional to this, dog’s bedding should also always be slightly elevated to keep from becoming wet or frozen. Special heaters or heating pads may also be added to the kennel or doghouse to provide additional warmth. If using a heating device, be sure it is designed for use in pet shelters, as regular heaters are never to be used in animal shelters or enclosures.

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