Cold Weather Safety Tips for Pets
With the weather getting much colder now, it’s really important that we keep an eye on our pets as freezing temperatures can cause a lot of discomfort to them if we don’t take the right precautions.
As humans we feel the cold weather but can dress accordingly, so we need to make sure we keep our pets equally protected to save any dangerous or life-threatening incidents.
Dr. Jo Myers, practicing veterinarian on Vetster, shares these tips for keeping pets safe in the cold this winter:
- Watch for Signs of Hypothermia
Remember that wet fur and frosty temperatures can be a deadly combination. Like humans, bitterly cold temperatures can quickly lead to hypothermia and frostbite in pets, too. This is especially true if their fur is wet or it’s windy out. Signs of hypothermia include pale gums, uncontrollable shivering, feeling lethargic and being poorly responsive or hard to wake up.
Fortunately, most pets are better suited to tolerate the cold than we are, and a pet is only at risk for hypothermia if they’re forced to stay outside long after they’ve shown signs of being uncomfortable and wanting to warm up. Hypothermia is life-threatening, so if you see any of these signs in your pets, get in touch with a veterinarian right away.
- Tips for Outdoor Pets
For outdoor pets, these small steps can make a big difference to your pet’s health and safety. To keep your pets, warm outside, consider the following:
- Keep their shelters out of the rain, snow, and wind.
- Keep them inside when the weather is particularly harsh.
- Keep consistent tabs on their water bowls or bottles or invest in heated water bowls.
- Make sure they’re healthy and are up to date on all their routine preventive health care needs. It’s a whole lot easier to cope with the cold when you’re healthy!
- Tips for Indoor Pets
Just because your pet lives indoors, don’t assume that’s enough when the temperatures begin to drop outside. They may still need some extra warmth during the cold winter months. To keep indoor pets, including dogs, cats, and hamsters warm and toasty, consider the following:
- Move crates and enclosures away from windows and doors that may be drafty.
- Add cozy bedding or pet-safe heat pads to their crates or lounging spots.
- Protect your dog’s paws with paw balm or booties before walks.
- Keep walks short and a towel handy to wipe down wet fur.
- Don’t rely on a coat to keep your dog warm. They’re mostly for looks and provide only a little insulation. In some cases, they compress a dog’s fur and decrease insulation. If your dog needs a coat to go outside, it’s more important to come back in quickly in order to keep them comfortable.
*If you opt for heating pads, make sure there’s enough space for your pet to move away from them so they don’t get burned or overheat. And be sure to turn them off if you’re leaving for an extended period. Never use a regular human-style heating pad on pets.
- Always keep an eye on your pet
Keep an eye out on your pet this winter season, we need to remember our pets can’t speak to us – so it’s important to be aware and look out for any signs in our pet’s health.
- Get a Professional Opinion
If you’re not sure what your pets need this winter, seek for professional advice at Vetster where you can book an online virtual care appointment https://vetster.com/en-ca without even leaving the house. You can book 24/7 from your phone, tablet or computer, then determine the best solution for your pet this winter.