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Cold Weather and Your Pet

As the weather gets colder and you start to bundle up, remember your pet needs to be kept warm too. If you plan to keep your pet outside during the winter, keep them outside as the weather starts getting colder so they can adapt. Pets need to physically adjust to the temperature change, grow a thicker coat and build up a resistance to the weather. Pets also need adequate shelter when spending time outdoors. This may be an insulated doghouse with cedar chips or blankets on the floor, and a protective shield or door. Don't use metal bowls outside during the winter. Your pet's tongue may accidentally stick to the bowl. Pets that don't spend much time outside still need special consideration as winter comes. Pets that normally sleep on a brick, tile, or concrete floor should have a mat or bed to protect them from the cold floor. Consider a sweater for your dog if he is thin or a shorthaired breed such as a greyhound. Older or sensitive pets may also need special care. As with people, your pet may have aches and pains that flare up in bad weather. Make sure older pets don't sleep in a drafty area for they are more prone to colds and other ailments. It is also more important for older pets to have snow and ice cleared away from where they are going to walk, to reduce the chance of injury. Make sure your pet has plenty of food and water. So long as your pet does not have a weight problem, give them extra food and treats during the winter months to help them keep warm. If your pet walks on salted or sanded roads make sure their paws are cleaned frequently. Salt in particular can burn and irritate the paws. Clear fur insulates your pet better. Be careful when traveling with your pet in the car. Don't leave your pet alone in a cold car. A car can cool down rapidly and cause serious health problems for your pet. Make sure antifreeze is kept away from your pets. Pets often like the taste of antifreeze, but it is extremely toxic. Don't put your dog in the back of a pick-up truck when it is cold, to avoid frostbite. Finally, if it is frigid outside make sure your pets are indoors.

 

 


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