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They’re Animals Not Superheroes: Precautions for Your Pets in the Winter Months


Many times people seem to place animals in a different category when it comes to how they handle extreme temperatures and weather conditions. But when it comes down to it, many pets will not handle these conditions much better than you or I would. Below are a few things that you should take into consideration as we battle through the cold and bleak winter months.

Wind chill is a nasty bugger.

You know that cold to the bone feeling you get when you walk out in below freezing weather with 20 mph winds, in a matter of seconds. Many of your pet’s can feel it to. There are of course exceptions to this depending on breed or thickness of coat, but even the animals with the thickest coats can feel that chill.

If you’re dog will allow it, no matter how many people may make fun of you for doing it, a sweater is always a valuable option. You can never go wrong with adding an extra layer.

Taking care of business after they take care of business

There are of course going to be times where your pet may need to go outside. Keep walks short and to the point, the point being taking care of business and getting back to the warmth of some form of shelter. Whether that be a house or a dog house.

When walking animals on salted areas or areas where chemicals may have been used to reduce ice, make sure to be very mindful of your pet. The rock salt or chemicals can stick to the pads of a pet’s foot, and cause irritation. Make sure to wipe down your pet’s paws after any time around salts or chemicals to reduce irritation and possible licking and consumption of dangerous chemicals such as antifreeze. Pets may also at risk for salt poisoning if the consumption of the rock salt is too much.

Make some noise!!

A warm engine is a danger to outdoor animals, especially cats. Cats are attracted to the warmth of the motor and will climb into the undercarriage of your vehicle to be close to that warmth. To prevent that animal from being injured or killed, bang on your hood, make some noise, sing a diddy, do something, to scare that animal out of the car before starting it.

Say something or I’m giving up on you

I’m not really giving up on you, but don’t be afraid to say something to an owner of an animal that is left outside and that you are concerned for. Some owners may not know of the the threat that winter weather poses on an animal and you just may help save that animals life. Other times the owner may not take this very well, but it can’t hurt to share concern. If the situation seems extreme and the animal seems to be in clear danger, contact the correct authorities so that they can take the next step in assessing and taking action in the situation.

He can stay home

Cold cars can be as dangerous as a hot car for a pet. A warmed up car can rapidly become very cold in a matter of minutes in extreme cold temperatures, so be mindful of your animal and their tolerance to cold before leaving them in a vehicle. Animals who have thin coats, are ill, young, or old are especially susceptible to the cold and shouldn’t be left in a cold car for any period of time.

Give them the chip

If you have an animal that is known for wandering, it is especially important to have a collar with identification and contact information in the winter months. Many scents that are usually easily found and recognized for an animal may be more difficult to search out in the ice and snow. For the best way to track a lost animal, you can also place a microchip under the skin of your animal to track the animal’s location. As long as you keep the registration up to date.