The Winter Months
The winter months can be difficult for your animals. Here are some ideas to help make this season safe and comfortable for your pets:
- Have a complete physical exam done before bad weather sets in so your veterinarian can identify potential problems before they seriously jeopardize your pet's quality of life. Some things your veterinarian might consider are your pet's weight, haircoat, and ease of movement. Arthritic animals seem to have more trouble getting around in the winter; your veterinarian has several medical options available to ease joint pain and stiffness.
- Be sure your pets have shelter from the wind and rain. The shelter must be the right size for your pet. A dog's body heat is the primary source of warmth for a doghouse. A small dog will not generate enough body heat to keep himself and the air around him warm in a house that is too big. A cozy pad can help and is easy to clean; use caution if your dog is a chewer as shredded blankets can lead to dangerous intestinal blockages if ingested. Never use an electric heating pad as these can cause serious skin burns even on a low setting.
- Evaluate your pet's shelter for damage that may have occurred over the summer. Check for spiders that may have taken up residence inside and for leaks in the roof. Be sure that the floor has some clearance off the ground for insulation from the cold and damp. Position the shelter with the door facing away from prevailing winds.
- Provide outdoor cats with a warm, safe bed out of the wind and rain. Keep in mind that cats like high places. Kitties may also seek out the warm motor of a recently parked car so bang on the hood of your vehicles before starting them in the wintertime to awaken any slumbering felines before the engine parts start turning.
These are just a few considerations to keep your pets safe and happy in winter.