Tips for protecting your pets during extremely cold weather
AUGUSTA, Ga. - With a Christmas weekend full of subfreezing temperatures, it’s important to make sure your fur babies are protected.
Some dog breeds with longer hair deal with the cold weather better than breeds with short hair. Short-haired dogs should never be left outside in freezing temperatures.
In general, you should limit your pets’ time outside when temperatures drop.
That may mean shorter walks, since dogs can develop frostbite on the pads of their feet.
If you absolutely have to keep an animal outside, insulate their shelter with straw instead of fabric, which can freeze.
Exposure to winter’s dry, cold air and chilly rain, sleet and snow can cause chapped paws, itchy, flaking skin, and other discomforts for pets.
To help prevent cold weather dangers from affecting your pet’s health, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recommends following these tips:
- Keep your home humidified and towel dry your pet as soon as he comes inside, paying special attention to his feet and in-between the toes.
- Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth.
- After each walk, wash and dry your pet’s feet and stomach to remove ice, salt and chemicals - and check for cracks in paw pads or redness between the toes.
- Bathe your pets as little as possible during cold spells. Washing too often can remove essential oils and increase the chance of developing dry, flaky skin.
- Massaging petroleum jelly or other paw protectants into paw pads before going outside can help protect from salt and chemical agents. Booties provide even more coverage and can also prevent sand and salt from getting lodged between bare toes and causing irritation.
- Like coolant, antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle.
- Feeding your pet a little bit more during the cold weather months can provide much-needed calories, and making sure she has plenty of water to drink will help keep her well-hydrated and her skin less dry.
- Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts.
- Remember, if it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet, so keep your animals inside.
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