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Ask the veterinarian: cold weather pet safety care

Aug 17

Categories: Blog

With temperatures dropping during winter, the veterinary health care team of Animal Health Care of Marlboro advises pet owners to be aware of precautions and animal care tips to keep pets happy,healthy, warm, and safe! 

There are a variety of dangers associated with cold weather for our pets, according to Dr. Steven Tepper. And, he suggests pet owners take a few simple steps to ensure that their pet braves and successfully survives the cold winter months.

  • Keep pets inside whenever possible or provide appropriate shelter, water, bedding if the pet must be left outdoors for any length of time during inclement weather. Those pets with specific illnesses and health conditions like diabetes, heart and kidney disease, respiratory conditions, and hormonal imbalances which stress the immune system should receive even more consideration. Younger and older animals also have compromised abillities to regulate body heat and should have limited outdoor time as well.
  • Cats are attracted to the wamth of car engines. Check beneath and around cars before starting the engine. A cat curled up under the hood could be seriously, if not fatally injured if the car is started and we are unaware that they were sleeping there!
  • Pet foot pads often collect rock salt and ice. Prevent irritation by checking and wiping pads with warm wash cloth after every trip outdoors.
  • If clean, unfrozen water isn't readily available, pets may drink out of puddles or gutters.  This activity can predispose toward risk of poisoning from antifreeze, household chemicals, and other pollutants that end up on the street.
  • Pet owners may dress thier pets in sweaters and outerwear in an attempt to keep them warm, but remember pets lose most of their body heat through their pad on the feet, through their ears, and respiratory tract.

In addition to dropping temperatures, cold weather dangers for pets include precipitation of all kinds and wind. Just as their pet parents can, pets can suffer from frostbite and hypothermia during the winter months.  We all know not to leave pets in cars during the hot summer months but it is just as dangerous to leave them in cars during old weather, too! When is doubt about the weather conditions, it's best to leave pets protected indoors.

Protect and prepare for the winter months for the health and well being of your pets. Ask your pet's veterinarian for suggestions and special situations. And, as always comments and suggestions are welcome: we won't bark or bite!