Pets in the Cold Weather - advice
Pets in the Cold Weather - advice
Pets in cold weather...
- While it is important to brave the elements and keep your dog exercised during this cold weather, if there are any frozen ponds, lakes swimming pools in the vicinity of your dog walk then keep them on their leads to prevent them from risking falling through the ice.
- Coats can be useful to help small and thin coated breeds of dogs stay warm. In particular, short-haired or elderly dogs benefit from wearing a coat or sweater.
- Remember to be very careful with sick or older dogs, since they are more sensitive to cold weather. Make sure you keep up any prescribed medication and also ensure animals move several times a day(i.e. give older dogs regular short walks) rather than just allowing elderly pets to settle in bed by the warm fire when their joints are at risk of stiffening up.
- When you get home, wipe snow and ice off your dog's feet, legs and belly. Remove the ice carefully and check for cuts. Wiping off your dog will remove any salt, antifreeze or other harmful chemicals that he could ingest when licking her paws.
- Consider keeping a container of warm water and cloths by the door for use after walks. It is good to rinse the paws before you wipe them dry, because salt can irritate the foot pads and stomach if ingested when licked. Dunking in the water will also dissolve ice and remove mud.
- Anti freeze alert: Antifreeze is sweet tasting and particularly attractive to cats and dogs, but it is essential that it is kept away from them as it will kill them. Read the labels of any products you use, and store these products in tight containers.
- Dogs often lose their scent in cold weather and can become lost. Dogs also can panic in snow or hail storms and run away. More dogs are reported lost during the winter than any other season, so keep them close by and within sight on walks.
- Frostbite and hypothermia are a risk in extreme conditions. Frostbite happens when the ears, paws or tail get cold enough that ice crystals form in the tissue and cause damage. Hypothermia occurs when animals are overexposed to cold temperatures and their body temperature drops below normal levels. Symptoms can range from shivering and lethargy in mild cases to stiff muscles, low heart and breathing rates and unresponsiveness.
On the Road....
- Keep a winter survival kit in your car. Include blankets, towels, water, bowl, first aid kit, and a sign that dog is in the car.
- Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car for prolonged periods during cold weather as temperatures plummet, your car becomes like a fridge.
- Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car for prolonged periods. Cats left outdoors and wild animals sometimes climb onto car engines or beneath cars to seek warmth. Check before starting the engine to warn cats away ods during cold weather as temperatures plummet, your car becomes like a fridge.
- Provide your pet with a warm place to sleep, away from draughts and off the floor. Dog and cat beds with a warm blanket or pillow are especially cosy.
- Remember tiled, wooden and uncarpeted areas can get very cold.
- Portable heaters and fireplaces can be deadly hazards for animals and children. Screen fireplaces and put portable heaters out of their reach. Do not run portable heaters when you are not there to monitor them; each year, a number of house fires starts this way.
Outdoor Pet Care....
- Break ice on frozen water bowls – check regularly to ensure that water dispensers do not re-freeze as animals then cannot drink and so become thirsty and risk being dehydrated.
- Add extra layers to bedding for rabbits and guinea pigs not brought indoors. Make sure cages are protected and well insulated to prevent icy draughts which can prove fatal.
- Fish ponds that are frozen over need to have a hole to allow for oxygen exchange but remember that sudden noise can scare the fish so to avoid smashing the ice & that you pull it out periodically to allow oxygen to get to the surface.
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