Winter continues to hold us within her icy grip, and pet owners need to take precautions to keep their animals safe and healthy.
The danger may be worse than what the thermometer reads. The wind chill factor can drop the temperature by 20 or 30 degrees. In other words, if the thermometer reads 34 degrees, the wind can make it feel like zero.
So even dogs and cats that stay outside in warmer weather may have to be brought inside in extreme cold snaps. “Be attentive to your dog’s body temperature and limit time outdoors,” advises the @ASPCA.
Provide Adequate Shelter
An adequate shelter means your pet is kept warm, dry and away from drafts. That is easy enough to do in most homes, but remember that tile and uncarpeted areas can get very cold. If your pet lives in a shelter of his own, make sure that it is raised off the ground, has dry bedding and is insulated or heated. Make sure also that your pet has a constant source of clean water – not snow. Thermal heaters are available to make sure the water source doesn’t freeze.
But portable heaters and fireplaces are potentially deadly hazards for small animals. Screen all fireplaces and place portable heaters out of their reach.
Never leave antifreeze or windshield wiper fluids on the garage floor or anywhere within reach. Many of these products taste sweet and are attractive to pets – and are extremely deadly.
Wipe snow and ice off your pet’s feet – even clean between the toes – after outdoor walks and be especially sure to clean paws of lime rock salt or calcium chloride salt, both of which can cause vomiting and diarrhea if the animal licks it.