Safety For You: 6 cold weather reminders for your pets

Photo: AP

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – We’re seeing the temperature begin a deep dive that will last for the next few days.

As much as a danger as that is for us, it creates real problems for pets.

The American Veterinary Medical Foundation has a comprehensive list of cold weather care reminders for pet owners.

It all starts with knowing the health of your pet. When was the last time you had your pet checked by your veterinarian? Knowing if they are healthy and ready to face cold weather is important and can keep you from putting your pet at risk.

Six other reminders are:

Know your pet’s limits – It stands to reason that short-haired dogs feel the cold faster that thick-coated or long-haired dogs. Short-legged dogs will also struggle in heavy snow. Arthritic or elderly dogs may have trouble walking in snow or on ice.

Stay inside – Many people believe cats and dogs are more tolerant of cold and snow because of their furry coats. Cats and dogs are susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia and should be kept inside. Longer-haired and thick-coated dog breeds, such as huskies and other dogs bred for colder climates, are more tolerant of cold weather; but no pet should be left outside for long periods of time in below-freezing weather.

Check paws – Cracked paws or bleeding may be an indication of injury. Ice can accumulate between toes and can cause limping or serious problems. You should also wipe down your pets paws after they’ve been outside. Deicers, antifreeze, or other chemicals that could be toxic could stick to fur. Wipe down (or wash) your pet’s feet, legs and belly to remove these chemicals and reduce the risk that your dog will be poisoned after they lick them off of their feet or fur.

Cold cars – We all know about the dangers of pets in hot cars but cold cars can be deadly. As the temperature drops the inside of a car can become a refrigerator. Pets that are young, old, ill, or thin should never be left in cold cars.

Prepare for worst – You might be prepared with an emergency supply of food and water for your family but how about your pet? Keep a store of food, water and medicine handy in case of heavy snow or power outages.

Don’t overfeed – Some pet owners think a little extra weight provides insulation during cold weather. The negative health effects can last longer than the cold weather. Keep an eye on your dog’s condition and feed according to the needs of your pet.

If you do have a dog that must stay outside be sure to provide insulated shelter, fresh water and plenty of food.

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