Every year, thousands of dogs and cats die from exposure to the extreme cold weather. In the North East, where wind chills can dip well below zero at night, protecting your pet from cold weather is vital for their safety. Nuzzle lays out our tips to keep your pet safe in the cold weather.
4 Ways To Protect Your Pet From The Cold Weather
- Bring Them Inside
This seems obvious, but there is still an old-school mentality that dogs are ok outside in freezing temperatures because they have fur.
The reality is, while fur does insulate them a bit, it’s no different from you going outside in a light jacket, then trying to sleep on the frozen ground.
Dogs can go for walks, and play, in the snow and cold weather. But, sleeping outside is dangerous. Short term exposure during exercise or play is fine because your dogs are moving around, which raises their body temperature slightly. Plus, when things get too cold (and wet, if they’re playing in the snow), they can come inside to a warm home to dry off.
A sleeping dog generates little body heat. The ground, cement, and wooden decks offer almost no insulation. Even if they have a dog house to protect them from the wind, the overall temperature can be deadly.
Never leave your dog outside for long period of time if the temperature is below 45-degrees.
- Avoid Salt
In the city, it can be tough to avoid rocksalt scattered on the sidewalks and on the street. In the suburbs, you’ll find salt on driveways, and on sidewalks in commercial centers. This salt can burn your dog’s paws.
The best practice is to avoid areas that are heavily salted during snow storms. But, this isn’t always possible. So, bring a towel with you to wipe your dog’s paws anytime you are walking in a salted area. Check for redness, swelling, and cracks in their paw pads, and between their toes.
Wiping their paws with a damp towel can also save them from licking away the irritants, which cause problems internally as well.
- Bring a Towel on Walks and to the Dog Park
Bring a bath towel on long walks, or for trips to the dog park. Towels work really well as blankets to warm a cold dog. If you think they’ve been out too long, or their paws and legs are wet and icy from the snow, gently wipe away any moisture, then wrap your dog in the towel. This will bring their core temperature up, and keep them from suffering from hypothermia.
Brining a towel is a good idea in the case of emergency, as well. If you are locked out of your house, need to take a long detour, or become lost, that towel can insulate your pup and save her life.
- Dump the AntiFreeze
Antifreeze is deadly for dogs (and cats). If you have any in the garage or yard, dump it. The sweet smell attracts pets. It is deadly when ingested. If you see any in your neighborhood, avoid it. It can save your dog’s life.