Keeping Your Pets Warm During Winter Months

dog30Keeping your pets warm and comfortable is important for their health and safety. Follow these tips to protect your cats, dogs, and horses in cold weather conditions.

Although it may seem obvious, keep your pets indoors when the temperature drops. Dogs enjoy walks at anytime of the year. Walks should always be a part of their daily routine, but can be shortened in the winter. Smaller dogs and short haired dogs are encouraged to wear a jacket or sweater to maintain the correct body temperature as well. Horses should be kept in a warm, dry, stable and draped with a blanket. Animals can suffer from frost bite or hypothermia if the temperature drops significantly and they are left outside. Their ears, nose, and paws (or any other exposed area) should be covered for protection from the wind and cold.

If your pet spends the majority of their time outdoors, a dry environment that is protected from the wind and elements should still be maintained for them. Outdoor pets need more food and water during the winter months as well because it requires more energy for them to stay warm. Horses require food and water around the clock. Use plastic food and water bowls. Your pet’s tongue and nose can stick to metal in cold weather and this can help prevent their food and water from freezing as well.

Be conscious of areas that are heavily salted as this can be harmful to your pet’s paws. The chemicals can irritate their paws, which can be painful and cause your pet to lick their paws. This is dangerous due to the chemicals used in road and sidewalk salt. Wipe your pet’s paws anytime they come into the house to prevent discomfort and keep them safe. Try to use pet friendly salt around your house.

Antifreeze and all household chemicals should be kept in a closed cabinet or out of reach. Antifreeze has a sweet taste and can be very harmful or even fatal to pets. Store the chemicals safely out of reach in the same manner as you would for a child. Coolants made with propylene glycol are less toxic to pets, wildlife and family. Propylene glycol can still cause health problems for your pet so please keep it out of their reach. Read the label carefully and ask your veterinarian to recommend a safe product.

The cold weather can be harsh in Grantham, NH but your pet doesn’t have to suffer or be uncomfortable. If you have any other questions about protecting your pet, call Sugar River Animal Hospital at (603) 865-5532.