Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Keeping Our Furry Friends Cozy with Cold Weather Pet Safety

It’s easy to think that pets can keep themselves warm in the cold days of a Pittsburgh winter – that’s what a fur coat is for, isn’t it? However, not all pets tolerate the cold the same. Short-haired and small breeds are likely to get chilled more quickly, while larger, longer-haired breeds are warmer, but tend to collect ice, snow, and worst of all, rock salt on their fur, all of which can severely dry out and irritate the skin. Meanwhile, outdoor cats face some different dangers altogether. Keep your furry family safe this season with our cold weather pet safety tips! 
Pet Safety Tips for Winter 

Both indoor and outdoor pets need protection from the cold. Take these tips into consideration this winter season!

- Despite the cold, dogs still need their daily dose of exercise. While long-haired cold weather breeds will tolerate a walk just fine, a short-haired breed such as a Greyhound, Boxer, or Chihuahua will need a doggie jacket or sweater to keep them warm. Keep in mind that smaller breeds are even more susceptible to cold than larger breeds!

- While on your walk, you’ll likely run into salted sidewalks and some lingering ice, too. Make sure to protect your pet’s paws with a healthy dose of petroleum jelly or get them booties to wear. Ice and salt alike can get lodge between toes and cause severe irritation.

- Always wipe your pet’s paws, legs, and belly after each walk to remove any snow, ice, and salt from their fur.

- Don’t leave your pet outside for extended periods of time. Even thick-coated breeds can get hypothermia if left to the elements.

- Whenever your pet is outside, make sure they have plenty of unfrozen water to keep them hydrated.

- Cold weather usually means more energy is burned trying to stay warm. Talk to your veterinarian about increasing their amount of food to account for the extra energy.

- Outdoor cats are resourceful, sometimes to a fault. They will often crawl into a car’s engine for warmth, so make sure to knock on the hood of any car parked outside before you start the engine.

- Antifreeze is very useful in the winter, but don’t let your pets near it. The sweet-smelling liquid is too tempting and too toxic! Clean up any spills promptly and store the container well out of paw’s reach.

Do you have any questions or concerns about cold weather pet safety in Pittsburgh? Let us know by giving us a call, or asking at your next appointment!