It’s that time of the year, fall is winding down and winter is coming at us fast. Temperatures are dropping, and in some areas, this can mean incredibly significant changes that can become dangerous. For those who may be spending their first winter in the Midwest or further north, their pets first experience with sub-zero temperatures can become painful and even medically concerning if proper precautions
With temperatures dipping below freezing regularly, not only is the air much colder, but surfaces are as well. The air also becomes much drier in many locations, and with super-low humidity, other problems can arise to extremities and exposed areas. To help you and your furry friend prepare, here is your winter guide for ultimate pet health.
Get A Winter Wellness Check
One of the most important things to be assured of is that your pet is in the best possible health going into winter. One way to accomplish this is leveraging a free wellness check that is often included in pet insurance plans. Providers such as Pumpkin pet insurance frequently provide coverage for wellness checks and yearly checkups to help your pet maintain optimal health year-round.
Watch The Clock
Some pets love the cold and can barely be bribed to come in the house when there are 36 inches of snow in the yard and freezing temps, and breeds like Huskies & Malamutes are famous for this. Other pets, however, can be highly sensitive or even averse to the cold.
You know your pet best, so if they don’t like the cold, be sure you keep a close eye on the clock to limit their exposure to the cold. Hairless or equatorial breeds of both dogs and cats are very intolerant to cold and can be easily injured in many cases, so when heading outside for a potty run they may only need a minute or two before they are ready to be back in.
Know What To Look For
Knowing the signs of potential hypothermia can be crucial for recognizing when a pet of any disposition is in danger. Dogs and cats will often display similar signs of low body temperature, including uncontrollable shivering, reduction in movement, muscle stiffness, lack of blood flow to the gums resulting in a gray or pale appearance, loss of balance or coordination, fixed & dilated pupils, decreased pulse & respiration, and collapse.
Don’t Freeze The Beans
We often take our pet’s paws for granted, since they are robust and made for all kinds of natural activities, however, in some cases the extreme cold can cause those precious toe beans physical damage. This means painful wounds and in some cases, even vet bills to make sure they heal properly.
Common winter paw injuries include not only frostbite from exposure, but also dryness & cracking from the air itself. In many areas, salt is used to melt ice and it can cause chemical burns to some paws. Since there is no rain to wash away leaked automotive fluids, leaks or drips of antifreeze can present a very high risk of poisoning by ingestion since it has a sweet taste.
Choose Function Over Form
Many people like to dress their pets in clothes, but in the winter it’s time to rethink the wardrobe. Put away the cute and the clever, and break out the clothes with coverage. Coats are incredibly important in areas with extreme cold, particularly for small dogs that lose body heat much faster than others.
Be sure that the pet clothes are pet-safe as well since many manufacturers include small buttons or even decorations that are easily chewed off and potentially swallowed. Stick to zippers and large-button closures, since they are the safest and easiest to use.
Watch Your Warm Spots
Areas near heat sources, such as fireplaces, space heaters, infrared heaters, baseboard heaters, and even electric blankets are all potential lounging spots for your pets in the winter. Keep an eye on the areas being heated at all times when heating appliances are in use, and ensure that your pets are either kept away by a barrier or trained not to get too close.
Keeping Your Pets Healthy In The Winter
Getting your pet ready for winter may seem like a daunting task, especially for those that may not be used to such temperatures. Just be sure you remember the points in this guide and watch your pets closely to monitor for any signs of distress, and you will be able to keep your pet healthy this winter.