Saturday , 28 May 2022

Tips to protect your pets against cold weather

Temperatures in the Lakeland Region have plummeted over the last 48 hours and pet owners should be vigilant about protecting their pets from the cold frigid weather which hangs over the Lakeland.

When your pets go outside for a walk or to play, monitor how long they’re outside to ensure their safety.

Judith Rodriguez, shelter manager at the Bonnyville & District SPCA explains that only some specific dogs breeds such as Huskies, Malamutes, and St. Bernard are very well adapted to stand the cold weather.

“Small dogs, especially those with short hair and most cats are prone to lose body heat rapidly plus the skin that is not covered with a thick coat can freeze in just a few minutes, exposed areas like their ears, nose, footpads, tails are the most commune areas with frostbite lesions,” Rodriguez said. “There are some key points to take into consideration to protect our pets from the cold weather.”

Rodriguez says the most important rule should be, “If it is too cold for you to be outside, it’s also too cold for your pets; the most vulnerable are seniors, puppies or kittens, and all those which health is compromised.”

Rodriguez says despite how much we care about our dogs “Unless your furry friend is small enough and is trained to use a pee pad you know that there is no other way to deal with their business, when nature calls, they need to go outside.”

Safety measures also start in the house for protecting the safety of your pet, Rodriguez added.

“Pet tags and collars with your phone number in use are very effective and anyone can contact you in no time,” she explained. “Microchips with your phone number are permanently under the skin and can be read easily with a scanner in almost any veterinary clinic or animal shelter. My personal recommendation, use both microchips and pet tags.

Rodriguez also says you should dress them up warm, “If their breed is not adapted for the cold weather coats and boots will give them the protection against the weather to spend a little bit more time for those that must find the perfect spot to go.”

If letting them outside to do their business Rodriguez said, “You should keep them leashed, snow will mask familiar scents and they can get lost easily.”

“If you live in the country, don’t let them go out unsupervised, ponds and water reservoirs can be deadly traps, when the ice starts melting and getting thinner,” Rodriguez said. “When your pets return from outside clear the snow and ice from their fur and the paws depending on how long they spent outside, they can present frostnip.”

As for the cats, it’s simple.

“A strictly indoor cat should be use used to the litter box, and will not require any extra measure in the wintertime,” Rodriguez said. “However many people allow their indoor cat to go outside, these cats could get used to remain indoors and use the litter box, it doesn’t mean that they are not going to be complaining because they want to explore the outdoors.”

Check around your vehicle before starting

Rodriguez said, “When allowed, they also can get lost and seek for shelter in the tires and engines of the vehicle, it can be fatal if an unaware driver starts the engine, unaware of the cat under the hood.”

“Please check the tires and bang the hood or honk the horn before starting the vehicle,” she said. “Even if you don’t own a cat.”

Barn cats are usually very smart and will not walk too far from their source of food and shelter, if they go forward, they also face the risk to become the prey of predators in the area, Rodriguez added.

Rodriguez said, “Currently we have two severe cases of frostbite at the shelter.”

Here are some tips to keep your pooch and cat warm:

Take your pet on shorter walks in the cold, especially if they have health issues.
If your pet has short hair, a protective doggy vest or sweater is a good idea. Booties are available for your pet’s paws.
Check your pet’s paws for cracks or bleeding after a walk. Ice can get trapped in between toes, so clean that buildup from your pet’s paws if you see it.
Wipe your pet’s paws, belly, legs, and any other areas that may come in contact with chemicals that are poisonous to your pet, such as antifreeze or deicer, once you’re back home.
Don’t keep your pet outside for long periods – especially in extreme temperatures. Indoors is the safest place.

Pets are like family members so treat them with love and respect. Keep them warm and safe!

About Arthur C. Green

Arthur C. Green is an award winning journalist and is from Whitbourne Newfoundland. Green graduated from the CNA Journalism Program. Arthur also studied Business Marketing and Political Science at Memorial University in Essex England and St. John's Newfoundland. Green has worked for such organizations as CBC, CBC Radio, NTV, Saltwire, Great West Media, CKLB Radio, River Radio, Vista Radio, and Postmedia. He also loves Jiggs Dinner and can fillet a Codfish.