Winter weather is finally upon us and extra care needs to be taken to keep your companion animals comfortable and healthy. It is important to remember that just like people, cats and dogs mind the cold weather. Even though they have a fur coat, many just aren’t equipped to be out in frigid temperatures for prolonged periods. Dr. Kenneth Drobatz, Chief of the Emergency Service at Penn Vet’s Ryan Hospital, offers the following tips:
1. Coats: Short-coated and small breed dogs should wear a sweater or coat to keep them warm when going outside.
2. Leash: When walking a dog, keep it leashed, and avoid icy walkways, as the animal can slip and pull muscles and ligaments.
3. Clear: When the snow is deep, clear an area where the dog can relieve itself.
4. Wash: After a walk, a dog’s paws should be washed and dried because salt and other material spread on sidewalks causes irritation to the feet.
5. Warm: Dogs get cold just like people do, so do not leave your dog outside for extended periods of time and never overnight.
6. Clean: Cats like to climb onto car motors to find warmth, and they also like to lick antifreeze that has spilled around the radiator cap. The ethylene glycol in antifreeze has a sweet odor and taste that seems to lure animals. A very small amount of the liquid can be lethal to cats and dogs. When filling the radiator, wipe up any spillage on the engine and under the car.
7. Thump: Because cats like to hide under the hoods of cars to keep warm, thump the hood a few times before entering a vehicle and turning the key. This will give the animal time to scamper away and not be hurt by the fan or fan belt.
Braxton’s Animal Works offers a wide variety of pet coats, sweaters, outer wear, boots, sport wear, and even doggie pajamas. Exposed to the cold, it could take only a few minutes for your dog to become chilled. Consider doggie clothing; it can keep your dog cleaner, safer, and more comfortable even on nice days.
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