Winter TLC for happy, healthy pets

Winter TLC for happy, healthy pets

SnowBear1Winter can be brutal on pets. Here are some tips for your pets in this colder-than-normal winter:

  • Dogs and cats are susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia just as people are, so use common sense on out-door time. Keep walks short and watch for signs of hypothermia such as shivering, and moving slowly.
  • Keep on eye on smaller animals when they are outside, especially early in the morning and at dusk. Coyotes and foxes have a harder time finding food in the snow and often come closer to homes in search of easier prey during colder months.
  • Pets need extra food to stay warm during the winter, and should be fed twice as much when the weather is very cold. A high-calorie canned food helps provide extra energy in the cold.
  • Pets cannot get enough water from snow or ice, and must have liquid water to drink.
  • Prolonged exposure to the elements and the toxic chemicals in road salt, dog and cat paw pads are at risk for drying, cracking, trauma, frostbite and chemical burns.
  • Fur around feet gets coated with melting snow and can re-freeze into painful ice balls which can lodge between toes. Trim the fur around your dog’s paws, take shorter walks, or consider protecting your dog’s feet with booties.
  • Although pet-friendly de-icers are available, most salt and de-icers can be toxic to dogs and cats. Keep your dog away from roads and sidewalks that have been heavily treated with de-icers. Immediately after a walk, wash your dog’s paws with warm water to help prevent them from ingesting any chemicals that linger on their paws. While outdoors, do not let your pet eat slush or drink from puddles near heavily treated roads and sidewalks.
  • Be a good pet owner and a good neighbor. Animals should not be left on chains for prolonged periods of time, ever, but especially when the temperatures are below normal. If you see a dog outside for extended periods of time, take action. Be a kind soul and call FIDO Friends of Indianapolis Dogs Outside, a non-profit animal welfare organization 317-221-1314. They can help the dog owner with food, shelter and information.

More cold weather care tips for dogs can be found on the FIDO website at: http://www.fidoindy.org/news/coldweathercaretipsfordogs