The Polar Vortex has hit the upper midwest of the U.S. again and it is not just dangerously cold for humans, it can be deadly for pets too. We may be over the worst of it now that it’s February, but we still have a couple of months of winter to go, so it’s never too late to review our Winter Safety Tips for your pet.
- Know your pet’s endurance. Puppies, kittens, short-coated, thin and elderly pets all have a lower endurance and are more susceptible to the cold. Keep their outdoor time short and sweet.
- Protect them from the cold. Their fur can only do so much and if it gets wet from snow or freezing rain it offers very little protection to your pet. You might consider a coat or raincoat to provide some warmth and to keep out the rain. It’s unlikely you will get your cat to wear a coat, so it is even more important to monitor and limit their outdoor time.
- Protect their extremities: feet, ears, tail. There’s not much you can do for their ears or tail other than limit the length of time they are out of doors. But you can consider boots for your dog. They not only protect their paws from the cold and freezing water, they also protect them from the harsh salt and other chemicals used to melt the ice and snow.
- If your pet is an outdoor pet, make sure their shelter is protected from winds, insulated enough to retain their body heat and has a closed doorway that keeps out wind, rain and snow. You might even consider adding a heat source. Check their water supply often to be sure it hasn’t frozen. And recognize that there are some temperatures that are just too cold and bring the dog in to a more protected area.
- Cats have an affinity for finding warm spaces and are apt to jump on radiators or even a wood stove. Take the proper precautions to prevent that from happening as they will surely get burned.
- Cats may also take shelter under your car, so be sure to check before leaving your garage.
- You might consider training your dog to do their business on potty pads so they don’t have to go outdoors in extreme weather.
- Your outdoor pets burn more calories in winter keeping themselves warm, so adjust their food intake.
- Be mindful of de-icing salt and antifreeze as both can be dangerous if ingested. Antifreeze in particular is sweet smelling and tasting, but deadly to animals.
- Many dogs love sledding and other winter activities. Be sure to dry them thoroughly when they come inside to prevent any chaffing or winter skin issues. If they don’t wear boots, be sure to wash their paws and dry them thoroughly too.
- Get reflective gear or lights for those dark morning or evening walks to be sure your pet is visible.
- Make sure you have food and supplies for your pet on your Blizzard checklist.
Keep your pets safe during the winter so you can both enjoy the coming summer!.