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Cold Weather and Your Pet

Winter is fast approaching and so is the cold weather. We have to remember that our pets are just as susceptible to the cold as we are and we should be aware of how the cold affects our pets.

Know your pet’s limits when it comes to the cold and see how long your dog can stay outside before it begins to hold up its paws or shiver, it may be shorter than you think. Dogs with short legs may have bellies that touch the ground when walking and that could shorten the length of time they want or need to be out.

Pets with certain medical conditions are prone to feeling the cold more because of the inability to regulate their temperature, such as kidney disease, hormone imbalances, and even pets with arthritis feel the cold more than others. You may notice that in the winter your cat may change sleeping habits. Instead of the sleeping in front of the sunny window, on a chilly day, it may be sleeping on top of the heat register instead.

If you do plan on taking your dog for walks in the winter then bring along a towel to wipe off their feet and legs as they could come in contact with salt or antifreeze on their travels and both can be irritating as well as toxic.

If your dog has a tendency to build up snow on the bottom of their feet, then having the feet shaved will definitely help; some dogs might not mind a pair of booties if it protects their feet. Maybe a jacket or sweater could also be worn to make the walk more enjoyable, some dogs love having clothes on. Due to the cold winters that often have extreme winds, it is highly recommended not to keep pets outdoors, but in an unforeseen event, a shelter from the wind would be beneficial.

Last but not least, our feral cat population. They too are trying to stay warm and love to hide up underneath the hood and close to the engine of cars. Just before getting in and starting car, bang on the hood to sound the alarm and give them an opportunity to escape before you drive off.

Bundle up and enjoy the winter months, with the right amount of preparation both you and your dog should have fun in the snow.

Written by Laurie Box, RVT



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