The season of snow days and frigid temperatures has arrived. Keep your furry companion warm and safe during a frosty forecast with these winter weather tips.
- Offer a “winter” bedding option. During the winter, you might crank up the thermostat or switch to your flannel sheets or winter pajamas, and your pet may benefit from a winter-friendly spot to curl up and stay warm, too. Add a blanket to your pet’s bed for additional coziness and warmth. Also, be cognizant of the location of your pet’s bed. Is it next to a drafty window? Too close to a radiator or wood-burning stove for comfort? If you wouldn’t want to sleep in that location, your pet probably doesn’t either. Let her choose her own resting area where she is most comfortable.
- Beware of thin ice. Even though the frozen pond scene from Bambi was adorable, allowing your pet onto a frozen pond can lead to a drowning disaster. Avoid frozen bodies of water, even if they appear to be thick enough to support you or your pet’s weight.
- Protect the paws. Snow, ice, and salt can cause some serious damage to your pet’s paws. Check each foot for signs of cracking and bleeding after coming in from a frosty romp outdoors, and always wipe your pet’s paws and belly off to remove any ice-melting salt, toxic chemicals, or snowy ice balls that may have accumulated. Booties can protect your pet’s paws, but avoid booties that are too constrictive and cut off circulation.
- Check your car. If you park outside, prevent a horror story from occurring by checking for animals that may have snuggled into your car’s engine for warmth. Bang on the hood and honk the horn to give dozing critters a chance to escape before starting the engine.
- Know your pet’s limits. Many pets cannot handle a lengthy romp in frigid conditions, so be mindful of the temperature. Young, old, or short-haired pets are prone to becoming chilled much more quickly than their robust counterparts. Walk outside with your pet to supervise her potty breaks, and immediately return to the warmth inside when she has finished. Coats or sweaters may provide warmth and comfort for pets with little fur. Check that these garments do not restrict breathing or movement and that they stay dry.
- Watch out for chemicals. Antifreeze, de-icing products, and sidewalk salt can be dangerous for your pet. A tiny amount of sweet antifreeze can be lethal, so be sure to immediately wipe up any spills. Use pet-friendly salt or attempt to avoid areas that are heavily salted, but still clean off your pet’s paws as soon as she comes indoors.
- Add visibility to winter walks. With many winter walks occurring in the dark, be sure that you and your pet can be seen. Use a reflective harness, collar, or leash to increase visibility. Lighted gear is also available.
- Groom appropriately. As the weather cools, trim the hair around your pet’s feet to help prevent snow and ice buildup, but try to leave the rest of her coat long to trap body heat.
- Look out for signs of hypothermia and frostbite. If you’ve lost track of time playing in a winter wonderland with your pet, watch out for signs of hypothermia:
- Violent shivering
- Muscle stiffness
- Breathing problems
- Rectal temperature below 98 degrees Fahrenheit
- Cardiac arrest
If your pet has spent too long in icy conditions, frostbite may occur, causing:
- Pale, gray, or blue skin in the beginning
- Red, puffy skin later on
- Pain in the ears, paws, or tail when touched
- Skin that stays cold
- Shriveled skin
Always keep an eye on your pet’s exposed skin, ears, paws, and tail while outside in chilly conditions. Chances are, if it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for your pet.
Frigid weather creating icy issues for your furry friend? Give us a call at 303-680-5050 to solve your pet’s winter woes.