Outside Pets in Winter

Once again, due to the cold weather, just a reminder that our pets need special attention when the thermometer dips to single digits or less.

One of the biggest issues is hypothermia, which occurs when the body temperature dips due to extended exposure to the cold. Dogs and cats left outdoors are at risk for hypothermia. With hypothermia comes organ damage or even death. Dogs and cats should be kept inside during periods of extreme cold temperatures.

If there is no choice other than your pet having to be outside, enclosed patios will suffice as well as the garage. Both are havens for refuge from extreme elements such as high winds.

Other things that can help protect your outdoor pet is a floor that is raised several inches above the frozen ground, cedar shavings, turn the dog’s house away from the wind gusts and staple a piece of material over the dog house door to keep the wind and snow out.

Another important factor is keeping your pet’s water from freezing and therefore of no use to your pet. Plastic bowls work best as a metal container can stick to your pet’s tongue.

If possible, indoors is the best place to be for humans and their pets alike.

Constriction of blood vessels can occur during extreme cold and cause frostbite. Frostbite is painful and can lead to severe damage to tails, ear tips and other extremities. Limiting the length of time your pet has to remain outside is vital.

And if you suspect your pet has a case of frostbite, see your veterinarian.

One place where outdoor cats find safe haven and warmth is next to a car engine.

Belts and blades can cause serious injury or death if you start your vehicle with a cat hidden under the hood.

An effective way to chase those furry creatures out from under your car is to bang your hand on the hood before getting into your vehicle.

Taking these precautions during extreme weather can keep our pets safe.