As the temperatures drop this holiday season, give your pet a little extra warmth with these winter pet tips.
“We've had dogs that have come in with frostbite on their ears, specifically on their nose, on the pads of their feet, those are the areas, and the tip of the tail,” says Lauren Fox, executive director of All Breed Rescue and Training, a shelter in chilly Colorado Springs. “Those tend to be the areas that get frostbite.”
Outdoor cats have an even greater risk of feline frostbite occurring; walking through snow soaks fur and paws, decreasing body temperature. Consider keeping your pet indoors, or set up a cat door or heated shelter.
Tolerance of winter temperatures varies by your pet’s breed, age and what climate they’re acclimated to. “Shortening walks can be really important, adding clothing; a jacket and booties can really helpful for those short-cut dogs,” advises Nicole Nolte, Operations Director of the Missoula Humane Society in Montana.
When the mercury hits 20 degrees Fahrenheit, shorten your pet’s walks; at 10 degrees, restrict exposure to the elements only for bathroom breaks.
Snug bedding is also a must-have for an outdoor pet shelter. If your pet likes to move between his home and yours, consider installing a doggy door. Allowing your pet free access ensures no one’s left in the cold.
Your pet is also not the best communicator, so keep an eye out for signs of coldness. “If your pet is whining, shivering, seems anxious, slows down or stops moving, seems weak, or starts looking for warm places to burrow, get them back inside quickly because they are showing signs of hypothermia,” urges the American Veterinary Medical Association to cold weather pet parents.
Enjoy the wintry wonderland with your pets—just from the warmth and safety of your home. Even dogs that are well-suited to cold climates should still have outdoors time limited to prevent frostbite and hypothermia. Outdoor pets should be brought inside, but if it’s unavoidable, provide your pet with a warm shelter, fresh water and cozy bedding.
Does your pet have health insurance? Healthy Paws Pet Insurance provides coverage with no limits on claims.
If your pet needs treatment for any accident or illness and it's not a pre-existing condition, you're covered. It's that simple.