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Written by Douglas Erickson
Adjusting to cold climate conditions is not only a challenge for people but a challenge for our furry four legged companions. Therefore, as pet owners we must take caution and follow a number of pet safety tips to protect our four legged friends from harmful weather and weather related situations.
First and foremost, the three main necessities for dogs and cats are food, water, and shelter. In situations to where a dog or cat spend a majority of their time outdoors, food and water must be kept in a safe, dry, and protected place to where their water cannot freeze or invite wild animals to dine on their food or worse, attack them. Most important, when animals are primarily outdoors they must have a safe shelter to protect them from harmful and adverse weather conditions.
Important cold weather tips:
- Cats may sleep under the hood of a car for heat and shelter. Prior to starting a car tap loudly on the hood of the car to startle any creature in hiding for warmth, allowing them the opportunity to escape.
- Do not shave your dog's coat down to his skin during winter months. His coat is necessary to provide him insulation against the rain, snow, and frigid temperatures. For short hair breed dogs make sure they wear a sweater or coat when going outside to help keep them warm.
- When giving a dog a bath during the winter months make sure he is completely dry before taking him outside.
- When walking your dog in the snow or on ice do not remove his leash; especially during a snow storm. Dogs can lose the scent of where they came from and get lost. More dogs become lost during the winter season than any other season. Make sure your is wearing a collar and a name tag at all times.
- Clean your dog's feet and belly when finished walking otherwise he will clean himself. Allowing a dog to clean himself could be harmful and fatal as he is at risk to ingest road salt, antifreeze, or other unsafe chemicals collected on his paws and fur during the walk. Important, a dog may cause his paws to bleed if licking his paws excessively to remove clusters of snow or encrusted ice.
- Antifreeze is lethal for dogs and cats. Should your dog or cat ingest antifreeze or other types of coolants contact your local veterinarian immediately. Visit the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center more information http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control/
- Do not leave a dog or cat unattended in a car during frigid weather conditions. As a car turns into an oven during hot days, a car will turn into an ice box on cold days. Dogs and cats could become victims of hypothermia and can freeze to death.
- Puppies have not developed their tolerance against frigid temperatures therefore; they should not spend long periods of time in the cold weather. This may be a challenge for a new dog owner potty training his new companion. It is best go to the store and get some pee pads and train your to take care of his business on the pads until weather permits.
- For dogs that spend much time outside engaged in physical activities increase their quantity of food and protein. A robust and healthy diet will keep a dog and his coat in prime condition.
- Indoor dogs and cats should have a warm place to sleep. Please make sure that in cool areas your dog or cat have proper bedding to lie in to stay warm.
- When burning fires in fireplaces or woodstoves make sure a screen or barrier are in place to prevent a dog or cat getting burned. Make sure to take caution when using space heaters. If a dog or cat gets to close they could burn themselves or worse, start a fire by knocking the heater over.
- Protect your family and pets by keep an emergency preparedness kit. Severe weather phenomena's may cause electrical outages or force people to evacuate their homes. To learn more about emergency preparedness visit http://www.ready.gov/be-informed
From your friends at The Pet Post we wish you, your family, and pet a safe winter.
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