Keep pets indoors as much as possible in the cold weather. When they go out, stay with them. When you’re cold enough to go in, your pet probably is too.
If a dog stays outside for the winter , it is important to provide an insulated home. Line the floor with blankets or straw to ensure warmth and ensure that it is up off the ground. Ensure that the bedding is always kept dry. Check that their water has not frozen over.
If your dog begins to shiver when your out walking, bring him inside immediately.
Your pets health can also affect how long they can stay outdoors. Conditions like diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease and hormonal imbalances can compromise your pets ability to regulate their own body temperature
Trim the long hair on the bottom of pets’ feet to prevent ice balls from forming.
Road salt and other de-icing chemicals are damaging to pets’ paws, and can be hazardous if ingested; wash your pets’ paws if you suspect they have got these substances on their paws while out walking.
Antifreeze is a poison, yet its sweet taste unfortunately attracts curious animals. Always clean any spills thoroughly. Or try a safer alternative, such as antifreeze made with propylene glycol.
Cats and wildlife seek shelter from warmth by crawling into available covered spaces, including vehicles. Banging on the hood of your car before starting the engine should scare out any stowaways.
Our smaller friends, such as birds, hamsters and guinea pigs, can be chilled if their cages are kept in drafty areas. Keep cages away from doors and windows in winter.
If your use a space heater or light a fire watch your pets closely. They are as attracted to the warmth as you so make sure their tails and paws do not come into contact with flames or hot surfaces that can cause severe burns.
Symptoms of cold:-
When outdoors with your pet, watch out for the following signs of exposure:-
Whining, shivering, appearing anxious, slowing down, stopping movement and looking for places to burrow. If you notice any of these signs return your pet indoors immediately.
Keep an eye our for the following two serious conditions caused by cold weather:
Frostbite happens when the body gets so cold it pulls heat from the extremities to keep the body’s core warm. In animals their ears, tails and paws can get so cold that ice crystals form in the tissue damaging it. Sometimes the tissues do not shows any signs of damage for several days and it can be tricky to treat. If you suspect your pet may have frost bite contact us immediately. (Luckily the temperatures in Ireland rarely get so severe that this is an issue.
Hypothermia is when the body temperature goes below normal. It occurs when an animal is exposed to cold temperatures for to long or when in animal is in poor health. In mild cases the animal will shiver and show sings of depression, lethargy and weakness. As the condition progresses muscles will stiffen, the heart and breathing rates slow down and the animal will stop responding to stimuli.
Treatment of hypothermia – Get your pet indoors and warm. Wrap your pet in blankets and contact us immediately.