Keeping the family dogs and cats safe during the cold winter months is not difficult and less expensive if owners prepare ahead of time. To keep that beloved pet safe, and healthy all year round make sure to take these extra steps:
Keep Them Warm – Keep a nice warm bed available for those cold nights. It’s important that a pet bed be raised above the floor/ground. It doesn’t matter, kept inside or outside the home, by keeping the pet bed about 3 to 5 inches above the ground on padding of some kind will help to keep the bed warmer. If kept outside, then placing hay under the bed will help to keep the warmth in the bedding.
Extra food and water – When food is digesting in the stomach an animal’s body must produce heat. Giving pets that bit of extra food or perhaps feeding them twice a day can be the best way to keep their internal temperature up. Water, a must for life, the important tip with water will be keeping it unfrozen for the outside pet is a must and one important step for keeping outdoor pets healthy.
Foot Care – Making sure there are no open wounds on the pads or around the nails of your dog or cats paws is very important. Clip the nails if they are too long so that footing on the ice is safer. The pads on the paws help with traction and will keep pets from slipping and injury to the legs or other limbs.
Small Dogs – If your dog were under 10 pounds and spending any length of time out-of-doors then perhaps a coat would be one idea on how to keep them warmer. Make sure to buy a coat that fits properly so there will be no excessive rubbing or pulling on the animal’s body. Owners may also want to consider booties for those small feet; many of these little breeds don’t have enough padding on their feet for maximum protection so the booties help with traction and warmth.
Outside dogs and cats – The best idea will be to give each animal covered shelter. Placing a doghouse or covered kennel in the yard for both dogs and cats will help to shelter them from the elements. Lay hay in the bottom of the kennel area and blankets so that the animals can get under the blankets if the temperature drops during the night hours.
Important tip: If the temperature will be below zero or close to zero owners may wish to consider bringing their outdoor dogs and cats into the home or garage. Even though these pets come with their own fur coat they may not be able to keep their body temperature up high enough to stay comfortable.
The elderly pet: Needs extra care during the cold months of winter. Take elderly pets to the veterinarian before winter sets in so that their health is at its prime before the cold sets in. If the vet recommends that your elderly outdoor pet come in then make arrangements to do so or find a boarding facility that will care for them during the winter months.
Remember that owning a pet of any kind is a responsibility. Be sure that your family is willing and financially able to care for a family pet for it’s entire life. This may seem easy but always consider the price tag of owning a pet before ever bringing them into the family.
Montevilla Veterinarian Clinic