Protect Your Pets During the Cold Winter Months
Winter weather can be challenging, especially for our four-footed friends. When the temperature drops and the wind kicks in, the safest place for your pets is inside with you. Even if you have a cat or dog who spends a lot of time outside when the weather is temperate, never leave your pet outside in the bitter cold. Even on a brilliantly sunny day, wind chill can become deadly for a cat or dog.
The Humane Society warns that a pet’s exposed skin, on noses, ears and paw pads, are at risk for frostbite and hypothermia during the extreme cold. They suggest that short-haired dogs wear a sweater, even on short walks. Even a walk in the park can be dangerous for pets if they lick their paws after walking on ice-melting chemicals, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Wipe all of your pet’s paws with a damp towel before your pet licks them and irritates their mouth. Dogs and cats are also drawn to the sweet taste of poisonous coolants, windshield de-icers and antifreeze, the Humane Society notes. As little as a tablespoon can result in severe acute kidney failure in dogs, while as little as 1 teaspoon can be fatal to cats. Consider using products that contain propylene glycol instead of ethylene glycol and clean up any spills quickly. Pets, like people, vary in their ability to deal with cold weather. Long-haired dogs, for example, may tolerate cold weather better than a short-haired dog. Also, shorter breeds often have a tough time outside in the cold because their bellies are closer to the ground. Just like humans, older pets often are less able to tolerate the cold, especially when they have existing medical issues.
Pets are members of our families. Keep them safe this winter by following a few tips provided by the Humane Society of the United States. If you see a pet left out in the cold, politely let the owner know you are concerned. While some people genuinely don’t know that cold weather is a risk to their pet, others can become belligerent. If that occurs, Feral cats, squirrels and other animals often find warmth under the hood of a car in the winter. Avoid harming these animals by banging on the hood of the car before starting the engine. You can also help out a neighborhood animal by creating a temporary shelter and leaving out a bowl of unfrozen water.