by January 9, 2013.on
Brrrrr! Our Idaho winter has been extra chilly this year!
During winter, there are a few important precautions for pet owners to ensure our pets stay safe. First, don't leave your pets outside in the cold for long periods of time. When you add Idaho’s infamous wind chill factor to our already cold temperatures, it can quickly become bitterly cold; adequate shelter is a necessity for pets.
Did you know It is possible for pets to get frostbite on their ears, paws, or tail? This is a very serious medical situation, if you notice ice crystals on your pets extremities, bring your pet inside immediately and seek veterinary care.
Another worry? Cats and cars. Cats will curl up against almost anything to stay warm—including car engines. Before you turn your engine on, check beneath the car or make a lot of noise by honking the horn or rapping on the hood.
It’s important to ensure your animals have plenty of fresh drinking water and that the outside source doesn’t freeze up.
Be particularly gentle with elderly and arthritic pets during the winter. While it is important to maintain an exercise regimen, the cold can leave their joints extremely stiff and tender, and they may become more awkward than usual. Watch for slippery areas and be ready to give a little boost on the stairs.
If you can get your pooch to go along with it ... go ahead and put that sweater on! It will help a little, just don't rely on it to keep your dog warm. Remember, pets lose most of their body heat from the pads of their feet, their ears, and their respiratory tract, so the best way to guard your animals against the cold is keeping a close eye on them to make sure they're comfortable. If you're outside with them and start shivering, chances are they are ready to warm up, too!
Dogs still need some daily exercise, but the materials sprinkled on sidewalks to melt ice can cause paw irritation, and may be toxic if ingested. Wipe your pet’s feet after some time outdoors.
Finally, if you notice any suspicious or unusual symptoms make sure that your pet gets a thorough veterinary exam, we are all susceptible to more illness in the winter, and our pets are no exception.