As a pet owner, veterinary assistant and pet sitter, I cannot count the times I’ve heard “It’s a dog, it belongs outside.” While that is true for some people, it’s not in my house. If your pets do stay outside, please remember in the winter months they need a little extra care.
First of all, it’s a good idea to take your pets in for a winter check up. Your veterinarian can make sure that your pets don’t have any medical issues that will make them more vulnerable to the cold.
It’s a good idea to have your furnace checked for carbon monoxide leaks before starting it up each year. This is for your pets’ safety as well as your family’s.
Make sure your pets have adequate shelter against the wind. They also need warm, dry bedding and access to non-freezing water. Here in Florida, we don’t have many days that get below freezing, but we do have a few.
Cats will curl up next to almost anything to stay warm, and this includes warm engines. Bang on the hood of your car or honk the horn before starting the engine; cats can get caught in moving parts and be seriously injured or even killed.
If you use a fireplace or portable heater in your home, keep an eye out for your pets. They too will want to curl up next to the warmth. Make sure they don’t get too close; they could burn themselves or even knock a heat source over.
Be especially careful with your older and/or arthritic pets. Cold weather can make for tender and/or stiff joints. Make sure they have a soft, comfortable place to sleep. Go outside with them and watch for obstacles that might be more difficult to maneuver around with stiff joints. Walk behind them or carry them up stairs.
Make sure you go outside with them when they go out. When you get cold, they’re probably cold too. Remember, your pet lives inside with you and has become acclimatized to that environment.
Enjoy this taste of winter we’re getting, but remember to take extra care of your pets to keep them safe and healthy!Jody Dog Days & Cat Naps