Keeping Your Pets Safe This Winter

As the days get shorter and colder, it’s important that you help your dogs and cats stay safe this winter. Even if your pets have thick coats of fur, you should still take some extra precautions to keep your animals warm - especially if you live in a snowy and cold climate.

Like humans, dogs and cats are vulnerable to cold weather emergencies, like hypothermia and frostbite. With that being said, we’ve put together a checklist for you to sift through, in order to keep your pets safe from the perils of Jack Frost this winter.

Is Your Pet An Outdoor or Indoor Pet?

If your pet spends most of their time outside, you should keep an extra eye on them. You might even consider building a shelter or allowing them inside, if your location drops below freezing temperatures.

If your pet can’t come indoors, it’s important to build their shelter with warmth in mind. You want to make sure their shelter is dry and large enough for them to sit and lay, but small enough to trap in their body heat. You should also make sure there aren’t any drafts, so your pet isn’t exposed to cold wind. The floor should also be raised a few inches off the ground, and the ground should be covered in blankets or straw for extra insulation.

Symptoms of Hypothermia in Cats and Dogs

Being able to identify a cold weather emergency is crucial. Symptoms of hypothermia will vary, depending on the level of cold that your pet is experiencing. Mild hypothermia is identifiable through weakness, lack of mental alertness, or shivering. If it’s cold out and you notice your pet is shivering, you should bring them into a warmer, more sheltered area.

In cases of moderate hypothermia, your pet will appear stiff, suffer from low blood pressure, appear to be in a stupor, or have slow and shallow breaths. In more severe cases, your pet might have dilated pupils, a faint heartbeat, trouble breathing, or appear unconscious.

Feed Your Outdoor Pets More In the Winter

Your outdoor pets will be burning more energy to stay warm this winter. With that being said, you want to make sure that your animals are eating more calories, and that they’re able to access their food from their shelter. Don’t forget to check up on their water supply to prevent them from freezing over. Afterall, you wouldn’t want your dog’s tongue getting stuck to a block of ice, and looking like the kid in the movie “a Christmas Story.”

Feed Your Indoor Pets Less in the Winter

In contrast to outdoor pets, indoor pets have different caloric needs. Most indoor pets sleep more in the winter, as a way to adapt to the temperature change. Cats and dogs also tend to exercise less in the winter, when they do go outside. Pay attention to your pet’s weight during the winter and adjust their food, depending on their activity level. Overweight animals suffer from a slew of diseases, and the first step to keeping your pet healthy is feeding them correctly.

Check For Pets Under Your Cars

Warm motors are especially appealing to pets during the winter-time. Cold cats like to curl up under the hoods of cars or lay underneath the bed of cars to dethaw. This can be dangerous, when you go to start you car and can even end in death. You can avoid these accidents by hitting your car’s hood or making a loud commotion before starting your car.

Wipe Your Pet’s Paws After Playing in Snow

Like humans, your pet’s paws are prone to frostbite in sub-zero temperatures. You should also pay attention to the tip of their tails and ears for warning signs of frostbite, like waxy skin or blisters. If you live in an area, where the sidewalks and roads are salted, you should also keep an eye on your pet’s paws. The salt used to melt snow is strong enough to corrode concrete and harm plants, so imagine what it’s doing to your pet’s paws.

If you’re having a hard time with the winter cold, then your pets probably are too. Keep your pets safe this winter by taking a few extra measures to keep them warm.