Unfortunately, summer is coming close to an end, which means that the cold and wet weather will be soon approaching.
It is important as a pet owner to learn and understand the risks of cold and wet weather that might pose a threat to your furry loved ones. In doing this, you can better prepare yourself and your pet for the fall and winter season.
Here is a quick guide for everything that you need to know about cold and wet weather and how to prepare for this season.
Cold and Wet Weather Tips:
- Winter Jackets and Coats
Many people assume that, because their pet has a coat and fur, they do not need additional warmth in the cold and wet seasons. However, it is important to understand that all dogs and pets are different. Some dogs can handle and adapt to the fall and winter weather and some cannot.
Double coated dogs like huskies do very well in the snow and cold temperatures, whereas some dogs, like the English bulldog, do not do well in cold weather. For that reason, it is important to determine how your dog handles cold weather and provide extra layers like a jacket or a coat to conserve body heat if necessary. If you are unsure if your dog can or cannot do well in the fall and winter weather, consult your veterinarian.
- Make Sure There is Fresh Water
If you have an outdoor dog or cat, it is important that they always have access to fresh water. During cold weather, water can freeze or reach close to freezing temperatures, which makes it hard for your pet to have access to water.
Therefore, it is important to have a heated water bowl. In addition, it is always important to check that there is no snow or ice blocking your pet’s access to fresh and clean water.
- Shelter is Provided
It is important that your dog’s outdoor kennel provide shelter that can protect your dog from strong winds and storms. This means that it is sturdy, dry and draft free.
The size of the kennel should be around the same size as his crate. This means leaving enough room to stand up, turn around and sleep. However, you want to make sure that it is not too large so it can keep your pet warm.
- Winter Booties
During the winter and fall season, there is usually ice on the roads and sidewalks. Therefore, your pet can develop frostbite when going for daily walks. This is why winter booties are great to have as they protect your dog’s paws from getting injured. In addition, they also protect your dog from licking chemicals off its paws as many people use salt and other chemicals on the roads and sidewalks to prevent ice from forming.
- Need More Food
Dogs that live outdoors need more food during the cold and wet seasons. This is because they use a lot more energy to sustain healthy and safe body temperatures.
Dangers in The Cold and Wet Weather
Frostbite “is an injury that is caused by exposure of parts of the body to temperatures below freezing point. The cold causes freezing of your skin and underlying tissues”. Even dogs with thick fur can develop frostbite. Some of the symptoms that you should look out for on your pet include:
- Discoloration of affected skin
- Area is cold to touch
- Pain and swelling
- Blisters on skin
- Dead skin
- Lots of licking and chewing of skin
Hyperthermia “is elevated body temperature that occurs when a body produces or absorbs more heat than it dissipates”. A temperature below freezing levels usually is the main cause of hypothermia. Dogs which are small and have little fur are at higher risk of developing hypothermia. Some of the signs include:
- Muscle stiffness
- Loss of control of muscle functions
- Dilated pupils
- Low heart rate and respiratory rate
- Ice and Snow
Unlike humans, animals do not realize the dangers ice and snow may pose. Animals can get lost in snowy and stormy environments or fall into a lake that is below freezing temperatures. Therefore, it is important to keep them on a leash when outdoors and to keep a close eye on them when playing in the backyard.
- Rock Salt
During the winter, many people use rock salt on their driveways and pathways to melt ice. However, rock salt can be irritating towards your dogs paws.
In addition, antifreeze is also present during winter and fall and is extremely dangerous for dogs. Therefore, it is important to wipe your pet’s feet clean or use boots to get rid of any unwanted chemicals.