Cold Weather Challenges our Pets Too!
As we are hit with another blast of freezing arctic air, it is important to take a moment and recognize that our pets are also placed under additional stress during this time of year. Pets are at risk of developing frostbite just like humans are. Each breed and individual within the breed has a different tolerance for the cold. Shorthaired and dogs with short legs will tolerate the cold poorly while larger breeds and those with thick under coats do better. Even dogs with heavy coats, though, need shelter if they are outside in freezing conditions for very long.
It is also important to remember that when the weather gets cold older animals often show arthritis. Just like us, the cold weather exasperates the aches and pains of aging. Be sure to work with your veterinarian to have a plan in place of how to control arthritis during cold snaps.
Make sure to let your pet tell you when a walk is far enough. Some dogs will sit down with their feet off the ground, or switch feet quickly trying to keep their feet warm. Their feet are prone to cracking due to the dry conditions and can even sustaining small cuts from sharp ice.
If pets need to be outside during cold weather, even with shelter available, their calorie demand will increase as their body burns more calories to keep the core body temperature stable. An increase in food may be needed to help them through the cold spell.
Reach out to your veterinarian if you find that you need help keeping your pet safe and warm during these cold spells. It is not uncommon for us to make house calls rather than asking our elderly owners to get out in the cold and would much rather not have them trying to drive in icy conditions.
Use your veterinarian as a resource to make sure everyone gets through these cold spells safe and sound.