For many, the new year brings a sense of a fresh start and a new beginning. It also brings cold temperatures. Mountain Home may not be the coldest part of the country, but many early mornings and nights tend to drop below freezing during winter months. And some years, we even see our fair share of winter precipitation like snow, freezing rain, and ice.
Here are just a few tips from The Vet Clinic, Inc. to help you keep your pet safe and warm in the colder days ahead.
KEEP PETS INSIDE IF POSSIBLE
Whether your pet is a primarily indoor or outdoor pet, you should try to keep them inside, if possible, during extreme cold weather. For your furry friend who is used to being snuggled up to you, limit outings to short potty breaks. If they seem a little restless, check out Dogster’s article on the “10 Ways to Engage Your Dog Indoors.” These activities can help your pet get a little exercise while having a little fun.
For outdoor pets you would rather not have inside of your home, you should prepare a safe place for them to get warm and get out of the elements. The ideal place should not only be warm, but dry. Make sure that the floor is off of the cold ground and make sure your pet’s drinking water doesn’t freeze.
PROVIDE A WARM SLEEPING AREA
When you get ready to add an extra blanket to the foot of your bed for extra warmth during colder weather, don’t forget to add warmth to your pet’s sleeping area. For indoor pets, this may mean adding an extra blanket to their crate or moving their sleeping area to a warmer area of the home.
For outdoor pets, create a space that is not sitting on the ground. You can add blankets or even straw to help retain heat. Adding a waterproof door such as heavy plastic is also a good idea. Adding heat lamps, heaters, and even a heating pad is not necessarily a good idea. They put your pet at risk for getting burned.
MAKE NOISES AROUND VEHICLES
This tip could save a cat’s life. During the winter, the warm engine your vehicle becomes a short-term source of heat. In order to make sure that your cat or other small outdoor critter is not under your hood, trying making a lot of noise like beating on the hood or honking the horn before starting your car.
KEEP YOUR PET’S PAWS CLEAN
Many pet owners understand precautions to take to protect their pet’s paws during the hottest months when hot pavement can cause damage. Winter weather can also be rough on your pet’s paws.
Extreme cold can cause the pads to become dry and cracked. There are also a lot of chemicals used during winter months like deicer and antifreeze that can get on your pet’s paws, legs, and belly. In order to keep your pet from licking and ingesting the chemicals, it’s a good idea to wipe them down each time they come inside. This will also give you a chance to inspect the pads of the paws for cracking and irritation.
DON’T LEAVE YOUR PET IN COLD CARS
Just like you don’t leave your pets in hot cars, you should not leave your pet in a cold car. The rapid drop in temperature can become life threatening. You should also never leave your pet in any vehicle unattended.
PROTECT YOUR PETS
These are just a few tips to help keep your pets protected and a little warmer this winter.
If you have any questions, visit our Frequently Asked Questions page or contact Dr. Sara Cotter, DVM and her staff at The Vet Clinic, Inc. in Mountain Home by calling (870)425-0035 or click here to send us a message.