As Christmas is approaching I hear people singing:
“Oh, the weather outside is frightful
But the fire is so delightful
Since we’ve no place to go
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow”
Our pets do not always have the same as they adventure outside even for a few minutes to take of nature’s call. Here are some things to remember.
Keep Your Pet Happy And Warm This Winter Holiday
Cold and dry air, chilling rain, and possible snow and ice can have your layering up trying to stay warm throughout the month. December is also the height of the holiday season, but it can easily become a not-so-jolly holiday for pets. However, as pet owners we know that when you are preparing yourself for the holidays and winter weather, you are also making sure your pet is ready too! To help you out this season, we’ve put together a few cold weather and holiday tips to keep you and your pet holly-jolly this December.
Cold Weather Safety Advice
Schedule a wellness exam this winter as it can be a great time to get your pet checked out so they are ready for the cold. Older pets, young ones, and those with compromised immune systems may need extra care during the winter. Pets with arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, and other conditions are more susceptible to the cold and may develop problems or have difficulty keeping a healthy body temperature. During your wellness exam, ask your veterinarian about how best to care for your pet this season. Remember that even though the weather has gotten colder, it is important to continue taking preventive care for fleas, heartworm, and ticks.
Just like people, an animal’s cold tolerance varies from pet to pet based on his or her body fat, activity level, health, skin type, and even personality. Be aware of your pet’s tolerance and adjust accordingly.
- Jackets– As you go out with your pet and grab your coat, grab a sweater, jacket, or vest for your pet too! If you think you will be cold, your pet will most likely be too, even if they have a long or thick coat. Outerwear should cover from the base of the tail to the belly and up to the neck to be effective at keeping your pet warm. Be sure that the clothing does not impede your pet’s ability to see, move, breathe, or eat/drink.
- Booties– You should also consider booties or protective covering for your pet’s paws when going outdoors. Not only will these booties help reduce your pet’s likelihood of developing cold-weather injuries, but they also serve as protection from harmful chemical agents used during this time of year. Many cities use ice-melting agents to clear roads and sidewalks that are harmful to pets if they lick them off their paws. Protective paw gear will help keep ice, snow, gravel, salt, and other agents from getting between your pet’s toes. Always check your pet’s paws once your return inside (even if they have booties) for signs of cold weather damage such as cracked or bleeding paws.
- Walks outdoors– Plan for outdoor walks. Ensure your dog is protected from the elements just as you are. Wear reflective gear or carry a flashlight if you will be out while it is dark. Avoid frozen water in all forms as you do not know if the ice will support the weight of your pet or how deep the water may be beneath the ice.
- Shelter– Though we do not recommend allowing your pet to stay outside for long periods of time, if you are unable to keep them indoors be sure to provide your pet with a solid shelter. The floor should be off the ground and you should provide thick and dry bedding to give them a warm environment. Do not use heat lamps, heated blankets, or space heaters as you run the risk of burns and fires with your pet. Always ensure that your pet has access to fresh, non-frozen water.
- Wipe down and dry off– It is good practice to wipe down your pet’s belly, legs, and feet after every outing as he or she may have come in contact with chemicals or agents that could be toxic. Your pet may lick his or her feet or fur and ingest the toxic causing complications. Be sure to towel your pet off as well to prevent catching a chill after returning from the outdoors.
- Heater safety– Your pet will most likely be spending more time indoors during the season and space heaters are a common way to keep a household warm. Exercise caution with heaters as pets can easily bump into a heater and get burned or knock it over and start a fire.
- Keep pet bedding warm– Move your pet’s bedding away from any doors, windows, or areas where they may come in contact with outside drafts. Provide your pet with extra blankets or pieces of cloth for added warmth.
- Make some noise– During this time of year, a warm vehicle can be an appealing shelter to feral animals. Cats often crawl under the hoods of cars to escape from the cold. Please check underneath the car, bang on the hood, make noise, or honk your horn before starting the engine to startle away any hitchhikers.
De-icers Maybe Dangerous
We use de-icer products to make it easier to clear snow and ice from the sidewalks and driveways. Many of these products if ingested are dangerous and in some cases even cause chemical burns if contacting the skin and pads of our pets. Consider using pet-friendly products such as:
• Kitty Litter
• Urea-based products that are marked pet-friendly.
For more information on how to keep your pet happy and safe this holiday, contact Cornerstone Animal Hospital today.