Winter Pet Safety

l When the temperature drops below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s best to keep all animals indoors except when exercising or relieving themselves. During winter, it’s important to pay extra close attention to our fur babies and their needs. Remember, their love is so unconditional, that they will deal with extremes just for our happiness. If you have an “outdoor” dog it should have a dry, comfortable, draft-free doghouse large enough to allow the dog to sit and lie down, but small enough to hold in his body heat. The floor should be raised a few inches off the ground and covered with cedar shavings or straw. Some people like to use a blanket but you will find that you pet will destroy it or soil it and that blanket is now just a pain. Be sure to monitor your water, also, so that it doesn’t freeze. Pet stores carry safe heated floor mats and non-electric warm bedding. The doorway should be covered with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic.

l Pets require more calories in lower temperatures because exercise is more strenuous and higher fuel intake helps your pet to maintain body temperature. Be sure to feed your pets a twice a day and don’t be afraid to mix in some meat into their diets. Of course, you should always be careful when changing your dogs food. But, incorporating small amounts into their routine food may be sufficient to avoid in upset doggy stomachs.

l Pets must have fresh water at all times. You would think this is a no brainer but it has to be said. And, without judgement, i might add. We all have done it, walked past the dogs bowl and made a mental note to come back and “refreshen” their water. Check the water bowl regularly to ensure it’s full and unfrozen. It’s a small thing but your pet will love you now and forever for thinking about them and their needs. Use a tip-proof bowl to keep Fido’s paws from freezing. And never use a metal water bowl— the tongue will stick to wet metal, and injury will result. You have all seen the “Christmas Story” so we know how that ends.

l Use an old towel to wipe off paws when your dog comes inside to prevent frostbite. But remember to place the towel away from your others and out of place where it could be used routinely. In the same breath, be sure to wash your pets paw towel at least once a month. Dirt can accumulate quickly, especially as the weather changes or snow or ice melts.

l If your dog’s paws come in contact with salt and de-icing chemicals during a walk, rinse the feet off and dry thoroughly once you’re back inside. It typically a good rule of thumb to assume that during the winter, your dog has come into contact with salt and de-icing chemicals. Generally, most cities will begin to treat the roads in advance of a snow or ice event. Logic would only dictate that once you head out to finally let your pet relieve themselves, they’ll come into contact with salt or de-icing chemicals. So. play it say because wiping paws is so much economical than trips to the veterinary.