While the winters in the Carolinas are not that extreme, it certainly can get very chilly. Cold pets are a problem in any climate- particularly due to the myth that the animal’s fur can keep them warm in any kind of weather. Even if you live someplace warm, heed some prudent advice surrounding your pets this winter.
Consider these cold-weather tips to keep your pets safe when the temperature drops:
Schedule a Vet Visit
With winter coming, make now the time to schedule your pet’s wellness exam and routine checkup. Cooler temperatures can exacerbate existing conditions, like arthritis, so talk to your vet about preventative steps and pain management for your pet this winter.
Prepare for Anything
Winter can bring unpredictability in terms of weather conditions, too. Be prepared for what comes by stocking up on cold-weather essentials for your pets. Your emergency kit should include pet food, bottled water, medications, and comfort items, like toys or blankets. Keep this handy to bring along in case you must leave your home in a hurry. Plan on maintaining a supply that could last your pet for five days, ideally.
Be Careful Around Cars
Do not ever leave your dog or cat in a vehicle; in winter, these can cool quickly and in summer, they heat up fast. Both scenarios can have disastrous consequences. Also, outdoor or feral cats often curl up under the hood of a vehicle seeking warmth; bang around and make noise before starting your engine during cold weather to ensure they are safe and unscathed.
Keep Them Warm
Pets with short hair or coats may benefit from a soft sweater or coat during colder months. Make sure it is dry and non-restrictive; always supervise your pet to ensure they don’t get tangled up or fall. You can also outfit your pet with booties to protect their paws and pads, but a good fit is imperative.
Tend to Paws and Pads
Speaking of paws and pads, make sure that you check your pet’s often. Cold weather can be tough on dogs’ and cats’ paw pads, causing cracking or bleeding. Ice can gather between the toes causing your pet discomfort and a possible limp. Wipe your pet’s paws down after any time spent outside in winter.
Consider the Elements
If your pet spends any time outdoors, make sure to consider the elements carefully and provide adequate shelter. Protection from the wind and access to food and water that is not frozen is integral; raise the shelter floor off the ground to reduce heat loss and make sure it is dry. Be wary of heating devices or heated pet mats as they can pose fire hazards. Better yet, bring your pets inside.
Add Some Calories
When the weather turns colder, feed your pet a little bit better and a little bit more. These extra calories can help keep a dog or cat warmer during winter months. Naturally, you don’t want your pet to struggle with the issues and medical complications that come from being overweight, but your vet can make suggestions regarding tips for maintaining a healthy weight range year-round.
Use these tips to prevent tragedy this winter- and reach out to CVETS , a brand new, state of the art Emergency Vet and Surgery center in Columbia, SC, for care and treatment in a crisis.