Protect Your Pets from Winter Weather
When you’re cold outdoors, chances are your dog is too.
The American Animal Hospital Association advises that even dogs with thick fur can feel the chill on cold winter days, so take care not to leave them outdoors too long.
In fact, when it’s cold out, you should keep your pets indoors as much as possible. When they go out, you should too. When you’re cold enough to head back inside, the dog is as well. If your dog must be outdoors for an extended time, make sure it has a place to duck out of the chill and also has fresh, unfrozen water. If no fresh water is available, your dog is likely to lap at puddles that could contain bacteria or pollutants.
Your dog’s age and general health can also affect how it tolerates freezing temperatures. Conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and kidney disease can limit a dog’s ability to regulate its internal temperature. The cold can be harsh on puppies and on older dogs with problematic joints.
Pets that go outdoors can also pick up salt, ice or ice melts in their foot pads. Keep them from getting cracked or chapped by wiping them off with a damp cloth when they return indoors. If your dog will wear them, consider outfitting it with special booties to protect his/her feet from chemicals and ice.
Just like their owners, pets can also suffer from frostbite or hypothermia. Frostbite occurs when blood is pulled from extremities to keep the body warm and typically affects paws, tails and ears. It may take several days for signs of frostbite to appear. If think your pet has frostbite, bring it in to see us.
If you are concerned that your pet is suffering hypothermia (excessive shivering, lethargy, decreased responsiveness), wrap it in warm blankets and call your veterinarian.
If you have any questions about how to help your pets stay warm during the winter, please give us a call at 207-594-8300.
PenBay Veterinary Associates is a proud member of the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). For more information please visit www.penbayvets.com or call 594-8300.
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