Just like people can be overwhelmed by cold despite the warmest of clothing, animals can suffer too despite their fur coats. For short-haired animals, the risk of hypothermia and frostbite is even greater. So here are some tips to help you winterize your pet.
- The risk of frostbite to ears, toes, and noses is very high in extreme cold, so don’t let your pet outside for longer than it takes for them to do their business.
- Find booties to protect the pads of your pet’s feet if you’re going to walk them. The salt used on sidewalks and roads can burn their pads. NOTE: Booties should be snug, but not tight. If they’re too tight, they can cut off circulation and put your dog’s feet at risk of frostbite.
- Puppies and kittens should never be outside when it’s cold. They don’t have the fat or the metabolism to generate enough heat to keep them warm.
- You can help feral animals by providing a warm, dry shelter with dry bedding, as well as food and water. Use a bird bath heater to prevent the water from freezing, and check the bedding often. Wet bedding can kill.
- Always check your vehicle before starting it up. Very often, animals will get into the engine compartment, where it’s warmer and out of the elements. Knock on the hood to make sure no animals are sleeping underneath it.
- Make sure your vehicle is not leaking anti-freeze. To an animal, anti-freeze smells and tastes like food, and ingesting even a very small amount can kill.
Basically, when it comes to preparing ourselves and our animal friends for winter, use common sense. If you can’t shelter a feral animal in your home, provide them with an outdoor shelter. Because, if it’s too cold for you to be outside, it’s too cold for domestic animals to be out.