By -Georgia Lund-
The most obvious winter pet danger is the risk of hypothermia. Even though most household pets do have fur coats, it’s not enough to protect them from below freezing temperatures. But hypothermia is not the only winter danger to protect your pet against.
Frozen Water Bowl
Prevent outdoor water bowls from freezing by relocating them to an enclosed area where the temperature remains above freezing and drinking water won't turn into a chunk of ice. Water bowl heaters can be purchased to keep the pet's water from freezing too.
Under the Hood
Cats like to climb under the hood of vehicles and snuggle up to a warm engine during cold weather. Check under the hood before cranking the car engine to make sure that a cat is not asleep on the engine block.
More anti-freeze is poured into vehicles during cold weather, which in turn increases the risk of a few drops being spilled on a garage floor or driveway. A few drops is all it takes to kill a dog or cat. Dogs love the sweet taste of anti-freeze and will eagerly lap a spill. Cats are finicky and usually will not lick it up; however, they may walk through spilled anti-freeze and later lick it off their paws during grooming and ingest enough to kill them.
Inspect your dog's paws for ice balls or ice-cut paw pads after a walk in the snow. Rinse paws to remove salt and other de-icing products that may have been walked through while outdoors. Treat abrasions immediately to prevent infection.
Small breed dogs and hairless cat and dog breeds need a layer of clothing during cold weather to help keep them warm. This is especially true when taking them outdoors for a walk.
Arthritis affects canines in the same way it does humans - the colder the temperature, the more joint stiffness, and pain. If your dog seems to be slow and stiff first thing in the morning, it's a sign of arthritis and a visit to the veterinarian to discuss treatment options is in order.
Bring Them In
The kindest thing you can do for an outdoor pet is to bring them inside and out of the elements. An indoor enclosure of some type when temperatures dip below the freezing mark will help them fend off hypothermia. If bringing them inside of your home is not feasible, create a warm bedding enclosure for them inside a heated garage, storage shed or on a porch.
Image by: wildstrawberry
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