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How to Care for Your Pet This Winter

How to Care for Your Pet This Winter

Living in frigid Western New York, we are used surviving the cold. We prepare by layering ourselves in coats, gloves, hats and scarves, but it’s easy to forget about protecting our pets. When we let them out to play or do their business, how can we know that they are safe in the cold?

Veterinary Emergency Clinic is here to give you some information and tips for handling the furry friends of the city.

Your pet’s tolerance for cold weather depends on factors specific to the type of coat, body fat stores, activity level, and health. If you own a larger dog, they will do better in lower temperatures than a small dog or cat. Pets with shorter legs are more likely to touch the snowy ground with their bellies and bodies, and therefore may become colder quicker. In the same sense, animals with short hair will also feel colder because of less protection from the cold.

If your pet has heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease or an imbalance of hormones, their ability to stay in the cold will be much less than others since they have a harder time regulating their body temperature, which may lead to more problems if in the cold too long. Always remember, if your animal is shivering, bring them inside.

Some tips for taking care of your pets in the winter:

Do not shave your pet. Pets will need the extra layering to keep warm when facing harsh weather outside. If the dog is long-haired, normal grooming is okay, but a full shave isn’t. For short-haired dogs, try getting a small pet coat or sweater to avoid as much contact with the cold ground as possible.

After walks or long periods of time outdoors, be sure to wash and dry your pet’s feet and stomach. This will help remove any ice, salt or chemicals that could have been touched on their walk. Snow and ice has been known to ball up in your pet’s toes, so be sure they are clear to keep them toasty.

You may need to feed your pets a little more during the winter since they burn extra energy trying to stay warm. This will make sure they are getting the much-needed calories for their diet. Also make sure they have plenty of water as well to keep them hydrated and skin less dry.

Here is our Dr. West talking on Channel 7 about Winter Pet Safety

Provide your furry family member with an appropriate bed and sleeping area for the winter. They should be away from the floor and drafts, perhaps on a dog or cat bed with a warm blanket. Provide your pet with a warm, safe shelter outdoors with comfortable bedding that won’t harm them.

Try to give as few baths as possible to your pet. Excessive washing during a cold period could remove essential oils and increase the probability of dry skin.

Be Sure to prevent any antifreeze or other automotive chemicals anywhere near your home or garage. Antifreeze is very toxic for animals and could cause extreme emergency!

Remember, if it is too cold for you to be outside, it probably is too cold for your pet as well, so keep them indoors. If they stay outside too long, they could be injured, disoriented or in extreme cases, the cold can be fatal.

Stay on the safe side this winter, and make sure to care for your furry friends. In case of an emergency or concern, contact Veterinary Emergency Clinic.

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4821 Genesee Street Cheektowaga, NY 14225
(716) 839-4043
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