January 13, 2016 Uncategorized

Protecting Your Pet Against Winter Weather

Protecting Your Pet Against Winter Weather

After a balmy Christmas and New Year’s where many New Yorker’s turned on their air conditioning, winter finally seems to be here. With the arrival of winter, we get out our warmer clothing, the lip balm and the electric blanket. Pets, too, need special provisions in the winter months to be comfortable and safe.  Here are just a few of the important ones.

Foot Care
Snow, ice and slush take a toll on your dog’s paw pads. Avoid walking where ice melt has been applied as the chemicals are harsh. Once your dog comes inside, wipe the paws with a wash cloth or pet wipes to remove any chemical residue. If you have your own sidewalks and driveway, select one of the pet friendly ice melt products or use sand or kitty litter to provide traction on slippery areas.

Protect your dog’s pads with paw wax. These products help protect the pads against snow and ice. Paw wax also helps to prevent iceball formation if applied between your dog’s toes. Paw wax often contains lanolin, which helps to keep the pads soft and moist.

Finally, never say never when it comes to dog boots, especially if you have a city dog where the snow and ice are dirty and full of chemicals. A cute pair of balloon boots will keep your dog’s paws dry and clean. Don’t leave the boots on in the house as moisture will accumulate in the boot as your dog sweats from his paws. The moist, dark inside of the boot is a good place for an infection to start. For athletic dogs, studier boots are in order.

Drinking and Eating in Cold Weather
If you take care of the neighborhood cats – the ones that live outside and come to your house for food and water – monitor their bowls closely when the temperature hovers around the freezing mark. If their food and water freeze, they can’t eat or drink. This might be the time to feed dry food instead of canned. If your outdoor cat feeding area has an electrical outlet, you might want to purchase an electric feeding bowl for the cats. These bowls keep food and water from freezing.

Don’t allow your dog to drink from puddles. Puddles likely contain dissolved ice melt, which will give your dog an upset stomach and diarrhea. Even worse, if the puddle contains antifreeze, a couple of sips of antifreeze laced water can be lethal.  Even if you think maybe, possibly your dog drank some antifreeze, go immediately to the closest animal ER and have him checked out.

Too Cold to Go Out Even if You Have a Fur Coat
In addition to providing unfrozen food and water to the neighborhood cats, you may want to provide some sort of shelter for them from the elements.  You can purchase cat shelters, but creative cat lovers will want to make their own from a variety of materials like plastic tubs, Styrofoam coolers and even a garden shed. Alley Cat Allies has compiled a list of do-it-yourself cat shelters for every level of building talent.  Take a look even if you aren’t in need of a cat shelter, some are quite novel. 

Not all dogs are fond of the cold, and those with spare hair like Chihuahuas, Italian greyhounds or dogs with hair loss as part of their disease process will do much better in the cold weather with a coat. Some sturdier dogs, like retrievers, setters and Arctic breeds are designed for cold weather action. But listen to the weatherman, and if there is an advisory against humans staying out for too long, then do the same with your dog, no matter what breed they are.

Winter can be fun for everyone, if you take the right precautions to stay safe and warm.

Tags: amcny, animal medical center, animals, ann hohenhaus, NYC, pets, snow, veterinary, winter,

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