Cold Weather Wellness Tips

Cold Weather Wellness Tips

The leaves are falling and so are the temperatures outside. With winter just around the corner, this is the perfect time to discuss pet wellness during the colder months of the year. It’s a common belief that dogs and cats are more resistant than people to cold weather because of their fur, but it’s untrue. Keep these tips in mind when preparing your pet for the chilly winter temperatures.

1. Visit the vet. Cold weather can worsen medical conditions such as arthritis. Your pet should be examined by a veterinarian at least once a year, and it’s as good a time as any to get him/her checked out to make sure they are ready and as healthy as possible for lower temperatures.

2. Limit time outside. Like people, cats and dogs are susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia and should be kept inside. Longer-haired and thick-coated dog breeds, such as huskies and other dogs bred for colder climates, are more tolerant of cold weather; but no pet should be left outside for long periods of time in below-freezing weather. You should also shorten walk times to protect you both from cold weather health risks.

3. Check paws. Check your pets paws frequently for signs of injury or damage, such as cracked paw pads or bleeding. During a walk, ice can accumulate between his/her toes. You may be able to reduce the chance of iceball accumulation by clipping the hair between your dog’s toes.

4. Be prepared. This tip goes beyond pet care, but winter often brings power outages. It’s wise to be stocked up on emergency supplies, including fresh water and extra pet food.

5. Beware of cold cars. We all know the dangers of leaving your pet in a hot car, but cold cars can be just as dangerous. While it is never advised to leave pets unattended in vehicles for extended amounts of time, a car can cool down rapidly in the winter. Limit car travel and don’t leave your pet unattended in the vehicle.

6. Recognize problems. If your pet starts behaving differently, such as whining, slowing down, seems weak, or stops moving, bring them in immediately as these can be signs of hypothermia. Consult your veterinarian immediately if you suspect hypothermia or frost bite.

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