Protect your pets against cold weather

Photo: Tuutikka/iStockphoto

“Just like people, pets’ cold tolerance can vary from pet to pet based on their coat, body fat stores, activity level and health,” says the American Veterinary Medical Association, which wants you to be aware of your pet’s tolerance for cold weather and adjust accordingly.

Here are some tips from the association:

  • Take your pet on shorter walks in the cold, especially if they have health issues.
  • If your pet has short hair, a protective doggy vest or sweater is a good idea. Booties are available for your pet’s paws.
  • Check your pet’s paws for cracks or bleeding after a walk. Ice can get trapped in between toes, so clean that buildup from your pet’s paws if you see it.
  • Wipe your pet’s paws, belly, legs and any other areas that may come in contact with chemicals that are poisonous to your pet, such as antifreeze or de-icer, once you’re back home.
  • Don’t keep your pet outside for long periods of time – especially in extreme temperatures. Indoors is the safest place.

“If your pet is whining, shivering, seems anxious, slows down or stops moving, seems weak, or starts looking for warm places to burrow, get them back inside quickly because they are showing signs of hypothermia,” the AVMA says. Frostbite is harder to detect. If you suspect your pet has either condition, contact your veterinarian.

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