Winterizing Your Pet
on December 14, 2012
Posted in Cats
Winter is just around the corner, actually starting in about 3 weeks. Now is the time to get your pet ready for winter. Although I do not agree that pets should be keep outside all the time, there are people who do not allow their pets in the house. If this is the case it is important that outdoor cats and dogs have adequate, warm shelter for the winter. Now is the time to review your dog or cat’s outdoor shelter.
Pets must be able to get out of the elements. A pet must have a well-insulated shelter that is large enough so that he can curl up inside to maintain body heat. This shelter needs to have a wind block or be out of the direct wind. In the coldest parts of the country, your pet will need an outdoor rated pet heating pad or other device. Make sure the pet has access to fresh not frozen water, so a heated bowl may be needed. Pets that spend all their time outside will need to eat more as they will burn more calories to keep warm.
Outdoor cats are of particular concern as they have a bad habit of crawling onto the engine of cars to keep warm. Be sure to bang on the hood of your car before you start it to dislodge loitering felines.
Indoor pets do not face these challenges, but cold weather can cause arthritis to act up. Old dogs and cats may need extra medication on cold, damp days. A nice warm bed by the fire can be appreciated by all! Just as outdoor pets need more calories in the winter, your indoor pet will need fewer as his activity decreases in the winter.
Many dogs need coats or sweaters in the winter, especially small, short haired dogs, lean dogs and older dogs. If you have a small long haired dog you might like to use a coat too to prevent constant drying of the coat. Pay attention to your dogs feet as well. Be sure to wash the feet after a walk to remove salt or other de-icing solutions. Consider booties if your dog walks on salted sidewalks.
WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO HELP PREPARE YOUR PET FOR THE WINTER?
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Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for over 30 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan