Winters may be getting warmer every year, but that doesn’t mean these frigid temperatures and snow storms are going anywhere. It’s always best to be prepared— you can stock up on rock salt, shovels, a generator and warm clothing — but caring for your pets in the cold is another matter.
The Cold OutdoorsSee a dog out in the cold without proper shelter? Contact local law enforcement. Dogs left in extreme temperatures, especially without food and shelter, are at risk of hypothermia, frostbite or death. Note the date, time, exact location, and type of animal involved. Jot as many details as possible before contacting animal control or local law enforcement with your complaint. Follow up in a few days if the situation has not been remedied.
Paw ProtectionDaily walks in the cold can harm your dog’s paws. Keep them moisturized to protect against salt and chemical agents. Use pet booties to minimize contact with painful salt crystals, poisonous anti-freeze and chemical ice melting agents. Apply a dollop of petroleum jelly to their paw pads before going outside.
Dos and Don’tsClosely shave your dogs in winter. Longer coats mean more warmth. Consider a coat or sweater for short haired breeds. Coverage from the base of the tail to the belly provides extra warmth.
Ditch the BathIf your dog must be bathed, ask your vet for a moisturizing shampoo or rinse recommendation. Reduce bathing frequency during cold spells. Drying can take too long, and washing too often can deplete essential oils and increase dry, flaky skin.
Check Before You RevOutdoor, stray and feral cats sometimes sleep under car hoods to stay warm. But the fan belt can injure or kill a cat when the motor starts. To avoid catastrophe – bang loudly on your hood before starting the engine to give the cat a chance to escape.