Keep Pets Safe in Dangerously Cold Weather

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Photo: Erin F.

This week we have had and will continue to have record low temperatures in and around the Philadelphia area, so it is important for pet owners to take a few common sense precautions to ensure that their animals are safe and protected.

Start by looking at your dog or cat as an individual as well as a breed.

“You have to know your pet and the environment that you live in. For instance, if you lived in Florida your pet probably couldn’t handle weather below -5°C for more than a few minutes. You really have to look at the breed and observe,” Dr. Gary Landsberg, a veterinarian behaviorist who has been practicing for more than 30 years, told The Weather Network in 2011.

Locally, Penn Vet’s Ryan  Hospital Chief of Emergency Service, Dr. Kenneth Drobatz,  offers the following tips to keep your pets safe and healthy in this extreme weather:

  • Short-coated and small breed dogs should wear a sweater or coat to keep them warm when going outside.
  • Clear an area where the dog can relieve itself.
  • 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.
  • Thump the hood a few times before entering a vehicle and turning the key because cats like to hide under the hood of cars.

Remember, since your pet will be spending more time indoors, it is important that he remains active. Be sure to exercise your pet and give him some extra play time as this will help to maintain a normal body temperature.

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