When the temps start falling and the wind chill makes it seem like you’re in one of those Alaskan reality shows, you know it can be tough going outside.
But it can be even harder on your pets, especially if they have short hair or are getting up in years.
And even if your pup is young and active, being outdoors too long can take a toll on him.
Limit your dog’s exposure to cold
Actually, unless your canine is a candidate for the Iditarod sled race, you should be taking steps to keep his exposure to the cold limited to no more than absolutely necessary.
That’s because most dogs are subject to both hypothermia and frostbite, which can do permanent damage to their noses, ears and paw pads.
So keep Fido indoors as much as possible when temperatures and wind chills are below freezing, don’t give him a crew-cut during the winter, and reduce walks to a minimum in frigid weather.
Of course, that means more exercise by having playtime inside. Just make sure your pup isn’t packing on extra pounds during the winter months by being a couch potato.
Cold weather safety tips for your pet
The ASPCA also gives these cold weather safety tips for animals:
- Watch out for puddles of antifreeze, which are extremely toxic to both dogs and cats. You can also buy a less toxic variety for your own car that contains propylene glycol instead of ethylene glycol.
- Bathe Buddy as little as possible during cold weather. Bathing washes away essential oils, and can cause dry, flaky skin.
- After walks, dry your dog’s feet and stomach (especially if they’re low to the ground!), and check for any ice balls or rock salt.
Another way to keep your best buddy safe is to only use ice-melting products that are labeled “pet friendly.”
And if you’re caring for any feral cats, setting up an outside shelter with clean straw, or an outdoor heating pad, will help them make it through the winter.
Jenny Thompson is the Director of the Health Sciences Institute and editor of the HSI e-Alert. Through HSI, she and her team uncover important health information and expose ridiculous health misinformation, most notably through the HSI e-Alert.
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