Keep Your Pet Warm This Winter
Cold and freezing weather can be dangerous for your pets, so be mindful of their comfort and follow these tips
I think the first sign of winter is not the biting wind and cold. It's that first step you take and realize suddenly you've lost control. The slip. So, a reminder as we walk our streets and sidewalks: even if a light powder covers your path, keep your knees slightly bent, eyes to your feet (about shoulder-width apart) — and a steady, controlled gait. You'll remember this when, inevitably, that first skid comes.
So wrote a wise man (my husband) two years ago at this time. We live in Chardon, where snow fell and stuck this past Friday. Walking up the street to get breakfast and peruse Chardon Square for TV news crews, conspicuous with giraffe-like antenaes, Jamie reminded me again to take care for the slip.
Within the hour I was also reminded not to drive as I usually do when it's icy.
Same goes for the methods we care for our pets, as evidenced in this case of fatal neglect last January.
Extreme danger doesn't threaten us the most, though. Pets, for all the delightful communication skills they've mustered, just can't quite find a way to communicate “I'm getting too cold” or “my water is frozen” in a way we immediately understand.
Again it is our job to remember their special needs when white stuff starts to fly.
A few less obvious pointers:
- If it's been a while since that last veterinarian appointment, now's a better time than most. Vets have a unique capacity to say whether your pet has any medical conditions that may compromise his or her ability to regulate body heat, such as diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease or hormonal imbalances.
- A general rule of thumb: When your dog goes outside in weather 30 degrees or less, so do you, and you stay there until the deed is done. Who wants to be left out in the cold?
- Unsure what it's like out there? The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals offers this iPhone and Android app to inform you of the weather specifically as it affects you and your furry friend.
- Just as we pick up rock salt, ice and chemical ice melts on our boots, so do our pets collect it on their foot pads. Take a damp towel to their feet and undersides; this'll prevent chapped, raw feet and, from grooming, potential inflammation in the digestive tract.
- Antifreeze tastes sweet to pets but can be fatal if ingested. Do you have any within reaching distance of yours?
- For cats and other small wildlife, it's awfully tempting to warm up under car hoods. Make some noise by honking your horn or slapping the hood to frighten any small squaters away before turning the key on your vehicle
- The ASPCA says more dogs are lost during the winter than any other time. ID tag 'em.
Which wintertime tips am I forgetting? Leave a comment for the good of your fellow Pet Pausers.