Even if you’re not affected by this storm, it’s important to look out for your pets for winter. Not only do we need to think about maintaining our furnace and vehicles, but looking out for our four-legged friends is also an important step to ensure their well-being and safety.
Here are the things to keep in mind as the temperature drops…
Only a Few Breeds Tolerate Cold Weather
Huskies, Samoyeds, and Alaskan Malamutes are suited for cold weather conditions, but most dogs do best indoors. If you should find yourself stuck away from home because of adverse weather conditions, make sure your pets have access to shelter. A dog house shouldn’t be much larger than the dog, it should be elevated from the ground, the entrance should be protected from the wind, and the unit should be insulated. Clean straw or pads specifically designed to retain body heat should be used.
Food and water also needs to be protected and provided from the elements as calories help the body to stay warm. There are some heated water dishes that prevent water from freezing but keep it cool. This is important as dogs cannot gain enough hydration from eating snow, and snow ingestion will cool the body too much.
Caution: Do not use heat lamps or space heaters as they may be a fire hazard! Plus, chewing pets may eat the cord and electrocute themselves.
Cats Need Shelter Too
If your own cat is allowed outdoors, there is a chance they could find themselves outside in a sudden storm. In this case, your kitty could find themselves in trouble. If you have feral cat populations, they too would appreciate shelter made just for them. There are several do-it-yourself options for providing safe shelter for them that may include nesting tubs insulated with straw or even packing peanuts. Make a second shelter to provide food and water so the water doesn’t freeze.
Better yet, consider letting winter be a transition time to get your cat used to being an indoor cat. Indoor cats live longer, healthier lives as they are exposed to fewer hazards like cars, wildlife, and parasites and other germs that could warrant a visit to the vet. Plus, since cats are being vilified as bird-killing, disease-spreading pests in the media, even household cats are being poisoned and/or confiscated and killed by animal control agents. So make sure your cat is microchipped to have any hope of finding their way back home!
Know the Signs of Hypothermia in Pets
Hypothermia is a risk for pets as well as humans. In pets, look for signs in pets which include shivering, pale or blue gums, enlarged pupils, a decreased heart rate, and a body temperature below 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
Stock Up on Supplies
If you know a storm is coming, don’t forget your pets need food as well. Would you have enough food and treats on hand should the city shut down with a huge snow storm? Ensure your pet has any required medications for a few extra days as well since your vet’s office may have to be closed as well.
Dogs and even short-haired cats appreciate coats and rain gear to keep them dry and warm when they have to go outside or you find them shivering even indoors. Elderly and young dogs in particular have difficulty regulating body temperature, and coats, hoodies, and sweaters may be particularly helpful for them. Fit is important, and our trained customer service agents are happy to assist you with any sizing needs. We have a number of styles to suit every situation, from hoodies and sweaters that make indoor living more comfortable, to full snow suits and boots to ensure comfort and safety even in extreme conditions.
Perhaps you can’t imagine putting your dog in booties. But breeds with lots of hair between their pads often collect snow and ice balls which are painful and can even cause damage to the pads. Trim the hair between the pads to lessen the chance of damage from the snow collecting and consider foot protection as well. Not only do they keep your pup safe from deicing chemicals, but your floors will stay clean to boot (sorry for the pun.) We even offer disposable ones that resemble balloons that can be packed in your purse or car. They can be rinsed and reused as long as they haven’t been punctured by your pet’s claws.