Cold Weather Pet Care

Is your four legged little one protected against the elements?

Is your four legged little one protected against the elements?

In some parts of the country, the cold fronts have already come in. In other parts, we’re just starting to see the temperatures start to fall. In any case, this is a great time to start thinking about protecting your pet against the elements.

It is a common misconception that animals are built to easily withstand changes in weather, but that’s just not the case. If it is too cold for you to handle being outside for an extended period of time, it is probably too cold for your pet. Here are some tips for you and your pets to have a safe winter:

• If you choose to let them be outside for a period of time, make sure they have a dry, draft-free house to lie down in comfortably.
• Take care with their source of water and make sure it is always fresh and unfrozen. Plastic bowls instead of metal bowls may be a good option to consider as their tongues may stick to the metal in cold weather.
• When colder temperatures come in, you might want to bang the hood of your car as cats and other animals may be hiding in or near your engine to keep warm.
• Wipe your dog (especially his legs and stomach) after a walk in the rain, snow or ice. His paw pads could bleed if there is ice or snow stuck in them.
• Be sensitive to your older pet’s needs. If it is too cold, take him outside just long enough to do his business and bring him back in.
• Your dog may need more food during the winter as it takes energy to stay warm, and he’ll need it to keep his fur in good shape.

The most useful tip of all? Keep your pet indoors. He is already a member of the family. If at all possible, don’t leave him outside to battle the elements on his own.