Be aware of your pet’s safety as temperatures decline. You can take several precautions to help your pet be more comfortable in the chilly weather.
Cats should be kept indoors, and outdoor exercise for dogs should be shortened. Temperatures that can be tolerated by your pet varies depending on breed and size. You can consult the staff at Country Critters Veterinary Hospital for more specific recommendations.
If your pet must be outside, adequate shelter should be provided. A dog house should be no more than three times the dog’s size and the door should face away from the wind. We recommend cedar shavings as bedding, as opposed to blankets and straw which can provide a warm home for fleas in addition to your pet.
Outdoor cats should be provided with similar shelter or with access to a warm building, even the garage. Because cats often enjoy sleeping near warm car engines, always be aware of your cat’s location, and honk the horn before starting your car.
Antifreeze is good for your car, but it is not good for your pet. It tastes sweet to them, but contains ethylene glycol which is toxic and potentially lethal. Always clean up any spilt antifreeze, and contact Country Critters Veterinary Hospital immediately if you suspect your pet has ingested any.
If your pet must stay outdoors, speak to our staff about adjusting its diet. Pets, as well as humans, burn more calories in the winter while trying to keep warm. To prevent dehydration, be sure your pet has access to an unfrozen water supply. Non-metal dishes should be used to keep the animals tongue from sticking.
Pay attention to your pet’s feet as well. Rock salt used to melt snow and ice can irritate paw pads. Clean your pet’s paws thoroughly after a trip outside. Uneven, and icy surfaces can cut paw pads. Keep dogs on a leash to help them avoid such surfaces, or place canine booties on them. Monitor your pet’s paws for any irritation or damage. If you notice any problems, we will be glad to set up an appointment to have one of our doctors take a look.
With hard surfaces covered in snow and ice, dogs’ toenails cannot be naturally worn down by these hard surfaces so the nails grow longer in the winter. Regularly clip their nails to keep them at a comfortable length. If you cannot do this at home, call for an appointment and we can clip them for you.
Although it is cold, parasite prevention is still recommended. Monthly flea, tick, and heartworm prevention should be given year-round. We recommend this because it is usually easier and cheaper to prevent such problems rather than treat them after the pet is already infested or infected. We have several products available, so feel free to ask our staff for more information.
If you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to contact us! Here at Country Critters Veterinary Hospital, we are concerned for your pets well-being and are dedicated to help!