Hopefully, you have seen the ads that say that if it is too cold for you as a human to be outside it is probably too cold for your pet dog or cat. Is it really that important to bring your pets in during cold weather? The Puppy Report (2017) states that “Whenever the temperature falls below freezing, your pets are at risk for frostbite and hypothermia.” The page goes on to explain that there are differences in the kind of pet you have. Long-haired animals usually tolerate cold better than short hair. They also note that a pet with a medical condition may be at more risk than a healthy one. I think that would apply to older pets as well. Older pets would be at risk more than younger pets.
The Scoop (Pun Intended)
The Puppy Report (2017) goes on to highlight the sings to watch for in your pets to determine if it is too cold. These include “dogs burrowing for warmth and getting stuck in snowdrifts or make-shift shelters, and cats seeking out areas of warmth, particularly car engine compartments. Contact with moving parts can be deadly if the cat is asleep on an engine when the driver starts the car.”
The American Veterinary Medical Association has a great list of tips at their website at https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/Cold-weather-pet-safety.aspx. I would like to highlight just a couple of you here, but I recommend if you have dogs or cats that you go to this web page and read all the tips. The one that hit me first was to make sure your dog or cat has had its preventive care exam. I usually get my animals checked once a year. It never occurred to me to do it before winter. It sounds like a great idea. The next one that grabbed my attention was to make a noise before you start a vehicle. It is common for cats to get inside the engine compartment or other locations for warmth. If you make a sound, they will leave before the danger of the running motor or moving vehicle occur.
The Humane Society of the United States (2017) highlights five ways to protect pets this winter that include:
- Keep pets sheltered
- Bundle up, wipe down
- Remove common poisons
- Protect outdoor animals
- Speak out
They encourage you to keep your pets inside with you. If you must leave a pet outside you must provide them with a shelter. Your pet may need a sweater or rain jacket to keep the weather from hurting them. You may also need to wipe them down after they come in the house to make sure they are dry and don’t have ice melt on their feet. Keep all antifreeze and ice melt products from your pets; they could be poisons. The last thing they say is that if you notice a pet at risk from the weather say something to the pet’s owner. Don’t let the pet suffer.
This winter your pet could be at risk of a cold weather injury, injury from a warm vehicle, or poisoned by ice melt products or antifreeze. It is up to you to make sure none of these things occur. In this blog post, I have outlined the hazards and some protective measures that can be taken. I encourage you to visit the websites listed in the references and learn more. This winter keeps your dogs and cats safe.
Dangerous Cold Temperatures for Dogs and Cats, The Puppy Report. Retrieved on November 27, 2017, from http://dogcare.dailypuppy.com/dangerous-cold-temperatures-dogs-cats-5911.html.
Cold Weather Pet Safety, American Veterinary Medical Association. Retrieved on November 27, 2017, from https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/Cold-weather-pet-safety.aspx.
Five Ways to Protect Pets This Winter, The Humane Society of the United States. Retrieved on November 27, 2017, from http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/protect_pets_winter.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/.