The Truth About Cats and Dogs and Cold Weather

With fall upon us, days are shorter and become increasingly cold as we move into winter. We begin suiting up in warm winter attire and try to find indoor activities to keep ourselves out of the cold. As we move into the most wonderful time of the year, it is important to address how the seasonal changes may affect our pets and what we can do to keep them healthy and happy through the fall and winter months.

If you have a pet that is primarily outdoor, it is imperative that you review your pet's outdoor shelter. Your pet must be able to take adequate shelter from the elements. For example, outdoor dogs will need a sturdy, insulated shelter that can both allow the dog to curl up to maintain body heat as well as block the wind, rain, ice, and snow. No matter the season, your pet should always have access to plenty of clean and fresh water. For outdoor dogs in the fall and winter months, consider a heated water bowl, which will prevent your pets water from freezing, rendering it undrinkable. Outdoor cats may be more resourceful when it comes to finding shelter from the winter elements. However, that shelter may be nestled next to your car's engine block, so be sure that you tap on the hood to startle any potential feline squatters. Even if you do not have a cat, you could be saving your neighbors from heartache.

Indoor dogs and cats may face less challenges during cold weather, but there are challenges nonetheless. Perhaps you take your pup for early morning or late evening walks. While there is no need to cancel these walks, keep in mind that it may be darker during your walks than it was a few weeks before. Consider reflective vests for both you and your dog, or perhaps a reflective leash. Overcoats are made for dogs when walking in inclimate weather. If clothing is not for your pet, be sure to dry off your pet after your walk. Similarly, you should always wipe your pet's paws and belly to prevent them from ingesting any de-icing chemicals.