Brace yourself… Winter is coming!
I heard on the news this morning that by tonight, here in Central PA, we’ll be experiencing record-breaking low temperatures well below zero. The wind chill will be below 20 degrees fahrenheit! Brrr!
It seems like an opportune time to go over some basic safety tips for pets when we’re dealing with drastic temperatures. Pets, even those bred for winter weather (like Huskies) are susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia if not given adequate shelter in frigid temperatures.
My Top 10 Tips for Pets During Cold Weather
- Bring Pets Inside: It’s a common belief that dogs and cats are resistant than people to cold weather because of their fur, but it’s untrue. No pet should be left outside for long periods of time in below-freezing weather.
- Provide Choices: If you’re able to, provide different choices in shelters so that pets can move if they’re too cold or too warm.
- Make NOISE before starting that car: Many feral and stray cats will make temporary homes under the hood of your car when it is cold outside. Bang on the hood, honk the horn, make some NOISE before you start that car to try to get those furry hitchhikers outta there before the road trip turns deadly.
- Provide Shelter for outdoor pets: We wish you’d bring all your pets inside, but sometimes that isn’t possible. When it isn’t, be sure to provide warm, dry, protected shelters for your pets. The floors should be raised off the ground and the bedding should be thick and cozy. Make sure that the bedding stays dry, too. Wet dogs are even colder than dry dogs.
- Play Dress Up: Coats aren’t just for fashionistas. A pet coat or blanket protects cold-sensitive, short-haired breeds, or older pets from the bitter temperatures when they have to go outside to do their business.
- Be Prepared: Bitter cold temperatures often mean blizzards, ice storms, and power outages. Get yourself and your family prepared, but don’t leave out the pets! Keep enough supplies to last at least 5 days on hand. See our post on creating a pet emergency kit for a comprehensive list of what to include.
- Cold Cars Pose Risks Too: Hot cars get all the attention in the summer, but cold temperatures can act like a refrigerator in winter. Never, ever, ever leave your pet unattended in a car for long periods of time, especially in extreme temperatures.
- Puppies Need More Warmth: Puppies don’t tolerate the cold as well as adults. Keep snowy playtimes short and warm that baby up with some snuggles once you get inside!
- Fatten them up: I’m usually a big proponent of slimming DOWN your pets, however feeding some extra calories during the winter, especially in the form of protein, can help keep your pet warmer by helping fur growth and providing extra energy to burn for heat.
- Lock up that Antifreeze: Antifreeze is lethal to pets. Many places now only offer pet-safe varieties, but better safe than sorry! Keep it out of reach, out of sight and don’t let your pet lick up any unidentified puddles in the driveway or street. Contact a vet immediately if you think your pet has ingested anti-freeze. It is a matter of life and death.
Be sure to share this post with your friends and families so that everyone’s pets are safe, sound and most of all WARM this winter.
Read other posts by hcrotsley