Protecting your pets from the cold weather | Health
The cold weather has hit all across the Carolinas and the call is out to make sure your pet is safe from Mother Nature.
“Just as people need to take precautions to protect themselves from the cold weather, we need to watch out for our pets during these especially cold days," Humane Society of Charlotte President/CEO Shelly Moore told WBTV.
By following a few simple recommendations, it is easy to help ensure that the winter is as safe and enjoyable for your pets as it is for you.
“Our vets recommend the following tips to keep pets safe”, says Moore:
- Bring your pets inside: We recommend bringing pets inside out of the elements in the cold winter months. Having a warm place to snuggle inside is important, especially for animals with shorter hair and thinner coats.
- Adequate shelter: If you opt not to bring your pet inside, make certain their shelter is clean, dry and well insulated with straw, wood shavings or a blanket. Make sure they have shelter that is large enough for them to stand in and turn around comfortably and can protect them from wind and precipitation. Putting a sweater or coat on a pet that has to stay outside is also recommended to keep them warm and dry.
- Access to food & clean water: Make sure to feed your pets a bit more than normal in the cold winter months as they tend to want to put on extra weight for warmth. Also, be sure your pet has access to clean unfrozen water. Water can freeze over quickly, especially overnight, putting them at risk for dehydration.
- Check their feet: Pets that move about on sidewalks, driveways or streets run the risk of picking up rock salt, ice and other chemicals in their foot pads. Each time they are brought in, make certain to wipe all four feet thoroughly. There is a tendency for them to lick the salt off their feet, which can cause an inflammation of the digestive tract.
If your animal shows symptoms of hypothermia which includes shivering, lethargy, muscle stiffness, lack of coordination, low heart rate or breathing rate or dilated pupils, take them to a vet right away.