Keeping Our Pets Safe
Although I live in Florida, it still gets cold
here on my small farm in the winter. In fact,
just recently the overnight temperature was
forecast to fall to 35 degrees and I made sure
that all my outside animals were safe and warm
and my dog, Otto, and his feline playmates were
just as comfortable inside the house. This
experience reminded me of how hard the winter
cold can be on our companion animals. It can
even be deadly at times. And while I am sure
that most of you do not live with two horses, a
goat, a cow, a dog and two cats, protecting your
companion animals from the hazards of the cold
weather is quick and easy.
First and foremost, the majority of our
companion animals live
and they are accustomed to a warm environment.
So please keep in mind that indoor pets cannot
adjust to the harsh cold just because they are
animals. Remember, if it is too cold for you
outside then it is too cold for your pet. If
your pet is accustomed to being outside during
the day, make sure he or she is properly
protected. For dogs, a dry dog house with a
raised floor and some thick bedding made of
straw or blankets will help keep them as
comfortable and safe as possible. Check the
water bowl to make sure it’s not frozen. Animals
should not stay outside for an unlimited amount
of time if it is very cold. Young, old and sick
animals are particularly vulnerable to the cold
and should not be exposed to freezing
temperatures for any length of time. Please make
sure you consult your veterinarian if you have
any questions about this. In the meantime, here
are some simple guidelines.
Fireplaces and space heaters are great to warm
up a room, but they also can spell trouble for
companion animals. Most pets will try to get
close to a heat source and may accidentally get
burned or even tip a space heater over. So keep
an eye on your dog or cat so everyone stays safe
beds are great places in which to snuggle and
keep warm during the winter months. They come in
all shapes, sizes, colors and price ranges. Cats
love the winter sun, so why not clear a spot
near a window for your cat to bask tranquilly
during the day.
Indoor heat and humidity changes can raise havoc
with your companion animal’s skin and coat,
so take a little extra time now and then to
brush your furry friend.
is deadly. If enough is ingested, it can cause
kidney failure. It is a cruel fact that this toxic
substance has a sweet taste, so animals are drawn to
it. Even a small amount can be extremely hazardous
to your pet’s health. Please clean up spills in the
driveway and store containers out of the reach of
your companion animals. An alternative is to
purchase a non-toxic antifreeze. Check with
your car mechanic for more information on this.
Although the salt used to melt snow and ice on
roadways helps us drive safely, it can be harmful to
the pads of your pet’s feet, so make sure you wipe
the feet with a damp towel after a romp outside.
and other small animals will often climb inside a
parked car, near the engine because it is a warm
refuge. Before you start your car, bang on the hood
or honk your horn to scare any animals away and
avoid a horrible accident.
Before taking your dog out for a winter walk, fit
him or her with a sweater or heavy tee shirt. This
is an inexpensive way to protect your dog from the
cold and it works great for small and large dogs.
The freezing cold temperatures constrict the bronchi
of the lungs, so it is important to keep the chest
Here’s one final word of
advice for all pet parents with senior and arthritic
dogs and cats. The cold weather is particularly hard
on these animals. Their joints may be become a
little more tender than usual and their mobility may
decrease due to stiffness. Supervision when climbing
stairs or walking on the ice outside is necessary to
avoid slip and fall accidents. A ramp will make it
easier to get in and out of the house. And, of
course, a comfortable pet bed really goes a long way
for these animals.
I hope you and your companion animals enjoy a
wonderful and safe winter season.
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