As winter approaches and temperatures drop, it is important to remember the risks that our beloved pets face. Many people may not realize the dangers of leaving pets tethered outside in the cold, as well as the environmental conditions that can prompt a physiological change in animals leading to death, FOX4 reports.
One of the main risks for pets during the winter is hypothermia, Oakland Veterinary Referral Services reports. This occurs when an animal’s body temperature drops below normal, leading to a variety of symptoms such as shivering, lethargy, and even unconsciousness. In severe cases, hypothermia can be fatal. Dogs and cats, like humans, are susceptible to hypothermia and frostbite, especially if they are left outside without proper shelter or warmth, according to the American Kennel Club. Pets with short hair or thin coats, as well as those that are elderly or have health issues, are particularly vulnerable.
Another risk for pets during the winter is being tethered outside, the Humane Society reports.Tethering a pet outside, particularly in cold weather, can be incredibly dangerous and can lead to hypothermia, frostbite, and even death. Tethering a pet outside also limits their movement, making it difficult for them to find shelter or warmth. Pets that are tethered outside also have a higher risk of being injured or killed by other animals or by passing cars, according to the Michigan State University Animal Legal & Historical Center.
In addition to hypothermia and tethering, there are other conditions that can lead to death, the American Kennel Club reports. For example, animals can suffer from dehydration and starvation if they do not have access to fresh water and food, or if the food and water sources freeze over.
To protect our pets during the winter, it is important to provide them with proper shelter and warmth. This can include a warm, insulated dog house or a cozy bed inside the house. It is also important to provide them with fresh water and food that is not frozen. If you must take your pet outside, make sure they are properly insulated with a warm coat or sweater, and that they have access to shelter and warmth at all times.
Here are 10 steps you can take to keep pets warm and comfortable during the winter or an unexpected cold snap.
10. Provide proper shelter
Pets should have a warm, insulated dog house or a cozy bed inside the house where they can retreat from the cold. Make sure the shelter is elevated off the ground and has a waterproof roof.
9. Insulate your pet
Pets with short hair or thin coats should wear a warm coat or sweater when they are outside. This will help to keep them warm and protect them from the cold.
8. Fresh water and food
Pets need access to fresh water and food that is not frozen. Make sure their water bowls are not left outside and check regularly to see if their food is frozen.
7. Keep them active
Regular exercise is important for pets, even in the winter. Take them for walks or play with them inside to keep them active and maintain their body temperature.
6. Regular check-ups
Pets, especially older ones or those with health issues, may be more susceptible to cold weather. Regular check-ups with a veterinarian will ensure that your pet is in good health and can handle the cold weather.
5. Maintain a consistent temperature
Keep the temperature inside your home consistent, especially if your pet is mostly indoors. Pets can get cold quickly if they are exposed to sudden temperature changes.
4. Provide extra bedding
Add extra blankets or a heated pad to your pet’s bedding to ensure they stay warm and cozy.
3. Groom them
Regular grooming will remove any dead hair that can trap cold air and make sure their coat is in good condition. This will help them to stay warm and comfortable.
2. Limit outdoor time
During extreme cold weather, limit the amount of time your pet spends outside. This will reduce their exposure to cold temperatures and help them to stay warm and comfortable.
1. Keep an eye on your pet’s behavior
Pay attention to your pet’s behavior and watch for signs of hypothermia or frostbite, such as shivering, lethargy, or difficulty breathing. If you notice any signs of distress, seek veterinary attention immediately.
It is essential to remember the risks that our pets face during the winter as temperatures drop. Pets can suffer from hypothermia, frostbite, and other environmental conditions that can lead to death. Having extra blankets, warm clothes, and an emergency kit for your pet can be very useful in case of power outages or other emergencies. By providing proper shelter and warmth, fresh water and food, and not tethering them outside, we can keep our pets safe and healthy during the cold winter months.
It’s our responsibility as pet owners to give them the best possible care and protection. Take the pledge and share your commitment with others!
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