With the temperatures plummeting and the wind chill making it even colder it is just not people that need to be concerned about the effects of the weather. Pet owners will need to protect their pets from the cold as well.  Pets need some extra care during the colder months of the year.  Here are some points to remember this winter:
  • Dogs and cats need protection from the wet and cold, whether they get it inside your house or inside their own. Cats are best kept inside when it gets cold, as are most small and short haired dogs.  An outdoor dog needs a dry, elevated dog house with clean, dry bedding and a flap over the opening to help keep drafts out.  Or, consider adding a dog door to the garage with a soft cushion in the warmest corner.  Of course the best course of action is to bring your pet inside the house.
  • A bowl of frozen water cannot help a thirsty pet. Check outdoor water bowls often when it is below freezing and break and remove the ice and refill with fresh water as necessary.  Heated water bowls can be purchased which keep the water from freezing.
  • Outdoor dogs need more calories in the winter to produce body heat, so increase the amount of food you feed your pet. On the other hand, indoor dogs and cats may get less exercise in the cold months and will need fewer calories to avoid weight gain.
  • Chemicals used to melt snow and ice on sidewalks can irritate your pet’s paws, so you may need to wipe them with a wet cloth after an outing. Dogs outside in the snow may need the ice between their paw pads removed.
  • Antifreeze tastes good to pets, but it is a deadly poison. The most likely source of the poison is radiator drainage spots in your garage, which should be flushed with water immediately.
  • A cat may crawl under your car seeking shelter and warmth near the engine. It may get caught in the fan and become seriously injured when the engine is started.