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Cold Weather and Your Pets
By Sherry Woodard
Here are a few things to consider when the season
changes and the weather turns cold:
Think about the amount of exercise your pet gets
in the winter months. If your pet is less active, he or
she may need less food. But, if your dog plays out
in the cold a lot, she may be burning more calories
and need more food to produce more body heat. The
same is true if your cat spends a lot of time out in his
cattery in the cold. So, watch your pet’s weight, and
consult your veterinarian if you have questions.
If you have a dog and she spends time in a fenced
yard, watch your fence line to make sure that the
snow doesn’t pile up so high that the dog can walk out of the yard.
Check the condition of your pet’s coat. Mats sometimes appear in winter and interfere
with the coat’s ability to keep your pet warm.
Make sure that water is available both indoors and outdoors. If you live in a very cold
climate, use plastic instead of metal bowls and buckets. Your pet’s tongue may stick to
metal, and he could injure himself trying to pull away.
Be on the lookout for antifreeze, which often leaks from cars into parking lots and
puddles. Check the floor of your garage, too, for any telltale signs. Antifreeze is attractive
to pets because it tastes sweet, but most brands are very poisonous and may be
fatal. If your pet ingests even a small amount of antifreeze, contact your veterinarian
immediately. Pet-safe antifreeze (which tastes bad) is now available, so consider buying
it for your car in the future.
If you live in an area where there’s snow, wipe your dog’s feet after walking her. She may
have picked up ice-melting chemicals, which can irritate and burn the dog’s pads. Some
of these products are poisonous if ingested by pets. You may want to try dog boots,
which protect your dog’s feet from sharp pieces of ice, as well as ice-melting products.
Use caution when you start your car in the cold winter months. If animals are left outside