Hypothermia is a major concern during cold weather. Inadequate shelter, calories, or becoming wet can make a pet much more susceptible to this condition. There are additional indoor and outdoor hazards associated with cold weather. We hope this article will help you become more aware of how you can keep your dog comfortable and safe during the cold weather season.
Pets that are outside in cold weather will need extra calories to keep warm. When the temperature is below freezing, you may need to increase calories by as much as 30%, depending on the pet and housing conditions.
Shivering is a sign your pet is too cold and indicates the start of hypothermia. A shivering pet should be slowly warmed until signs of hypothermia are gone.
Provide your pet with fresh, unfrozen water available at all times. Avoid stainless steel or metal bowls; instead, use heated buckets or bowls.
Walking in the cold
Snowballs can be fun unless they are between the toes. Snow collecting between the toes of dogs can be very painful, and if large enough, obstruct blood flow to the toes. Help your pet remove these collections of snow while you are out walking. Dog boots would help eliminate this problem.
Thin ice on lakes is hazardous for people and animals. Keep your pet away from lakes or other bodies of water which may have thin ice.
In the northern United States, remember that snowmobile trails can be dangerous places. Be sure to keep your pets off of the trails.
Ice on walks is not only dangerous for us two-legged creatures, but for our four-legged friends as well. Slipping on the ice is of special concern for older dogs who may already be stiff due to arthritis.
During the cold winter months, many people use space heaters and woodburning stoves. Do not allow unsupervised pets in areas with space heaters which could be bumped over by the pet. Placing 'Scat mats' on the floor may also be helpful in keeping pets away from stoves and heaters.