Trilliums in Northern Ontario
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Animals and Pet Care

Cold Critter Care
Dr. Rod Jouppi, Walden Animal Clinic



Believe it or not ~ winter is around the corner. We will all love to get out of the cold and get cozy – so do our pets. Our pets also become accustomed to the warmth of indoors and cold weather can be hard on pets. If your pets must be kept outdoors, they will need to be provided with shelter. Pets need to be acclimatized and kept outdoors for a period of time before cold weather.

Shelters should be above ground and be small enough for body heat to raise the ambient temperature. The shelter should be insulated or heated and have thick bedding with a small door preferably facing south. Water source may also be heated (these are available for purchase). Outdoor pets require extra calories to keep warm. In severely cold weather, no pet should be kept outdoors and it is important to remember that some animals can remain outside safely longer than others. Huskies will tolerate cold weather better than Chihuahuas. Animals with health problems or if very young or old cannot tolerate extremes of temperature ~ either hot or cold.


• Take your pets for a pre-winter check up. Your veterinarian can let you know
how susceptible your pet may be to the cold.

• Cats love to find something warm to curl up against ~ this is often the motor
of your vehicle. Please bang the hood before starting your vehicle.

• Do not leave antifreeze anywhere that animals can get into. Animals like
antifreeze and only a small amount can be fatal.

• If you live near a river or lake, be very careful with your dog ~ many animals
fall through the ice in winter and can perish very quickly.

• Sweaters sometimes help pets to keep warm ~ but remember they lose most
of their body heat from the pads of their feet, their ears and their respiratory
tract.

• Older, arthritic pets cannot tolerate extreme cold ~ they will become more
painful and they may injure themselves on icy surfaces.

• Pets can pick up road salt, chemicals, and ice on their feet and between their
toes. It is best to wipe off feet after walks ~ or wear booties.

• Gas furnaces can emit carbon monoxide which can be fatal to you and your
Pets - have your furnace checked before winter and use detectors. If you
utilize portable heating sources, remember, that your pet could get burned
by them or knock them over and put everyone in danger.

• Pets can get frostbite or become hypothermic in cold weather and these things
do not become immediately obvious. If you think that your pet may have
frostbite, bring your pet into a warm area immediately and gently soak their
extremities in warm water ~ Do Not Rub ~ and bring your pet to a veterinarian
as soon as possible.

Winter offers us some great holidays with wonderful family times & lots of rich foods. Our pets also love chocolate, gravy & high fat treats…unfortunately, our animal friends cannot tolerate these foods & can get extremely sick or even die after eating these things. Celebrations often include poinsettias, mistletoe, angel hair, decorations & artificial snow …all of these items can also be very toxic to pets.

Winter is a fantastic time of year & we can enjoy many healthy activities with our family pets….but we have to keep our homes pet safe so that we can all enjoy next spring as well.

Dr. Rod Jouppi, Walden Animal Clinic


 

 

 

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