With this past December shattering cold weather records for the Lower Mainland of BC this year, do you know how to keep your pets safe and comfortable when the thermometer dips below zero?
- Know your pet’s limits: Tolerance to temperatures can vary from pet to pet, just like in people. Long or thick coated dogs tend to be better suited for colder temperatures but they can still be at risk in cold weather. Shorter hair animals have less protection and usually feel the cold much faster. Don’t hesitate to use a sweater for your dog if he/she tolerates it while they are outdoors. You may also need to consider shortening your dog’s walks, particularly if they are suffering from arthritis (the cold doesn’t help those poor achy joints!).
- Keep your pet inside: Whether it’s a dog or a cat, if he/she spends a lot of time outside on their own normally, it’s time to bring them inside. Like people, pets can be susceptible to frost bite or hypothermia.
- Check your pet’s paws: Check your pet’s feet regularly for signs of distress in the cold weather such as cracking or bleeding. Sudden lameness could be a result of the discomfort of ice accumulating between the toes. Wipe your pet’s feet clean after each outing, especially if they have had contact with road salt.
- Check your vehicle: A warm engine is tempting to an outdoor cat so be sure to make a lot of noise prior to starting up your engine. Honk the horn, bang on the hood, etc to evacuate any animals that may have taken refuge under your car’s hood.
- Keep your pet at home: We all know the dangers of hot cars and pets in the summer but cold cars in subzero conditions can be dangerous as well. Don’t leave your pet in the car for long periods of time, especially if there is a temperature extreme.