It's that time of year when winter strikes Springfield and we bundle up when heading outside. Not only do we feel the effects of the blustery cold, but our pets do too. While many pets live indoors, there are some pets who live outside in the elements. Either way, you need to take extra precautions during the winter to keep your four-legged friends happy and healthy.
Obviously, short haired dogs (and cats) will feel the cold more quickly, and often times enjoy being outside longer if they can wear a sweater or vest. An extra layer goes a long way for trapping heat, some sources say 10% of your body heat is retained with each additional layer you wear. Longer haired animals can keep themselves warm longer, but they tend to have more issues with ice and snow getting stuck to their paws and between their toes. All pets are very susceptible to freezing their paw pads if they are on any cold surface for too long. So, keep walks shorter during the winter, have Fido wear some stylish dog boots, and be sure to use pet safe salt when melting ice on outside surfaces.
Pets who live outside during the winter months need to have access to some sort of shelter. There should be adequate bedding inside to provide warmth when they snuggle down inside, as well as a wind block. On the coldest days of winter, it is a good idea to bring these pets inside a garage or house so they can stay warm. Pets who live outside expend more energy during the winter in order to keep their body temperatures normal. Consult your veterinarian about the proper winter diet if your pet is outdoors.
Anti-freeze, even a small amount, can be fatal to cats and dogs. Be sure to clean up any spills quickly and completely, and store your container where your pet can't accidentally knock it over. Warm car engines are also very enticing for pets to curl up on. Give your hood a good pounding and honk the horn if there are feral cats nearby. Although your neighbors may question you honking and pounding at 6am, the cats will thank you!
The signs of hypothermia are usually shivering, burrowing down to keep warm, slow movement or lack of movement, and anxiousness. If you see any of these signs, consult your veterinarian immediately.
Call us today at 217-529-4499 to discuss winter health for your pet!
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