With frigid cold temperatures and snow expected this weekend, these conditions are dangerous for our four legged friends. Exposure to winter’s dry, cold air and chilly rain, sleet and snow can cause chapped paws and itchy, flaking skin, but these aren’t the only discomforts pets can suffer. Winter walks can become downright dangerous if chemicals from ice-melting agents are licked off of bare paws. To help prevent cold weather dangers from affecting your pet’s health, please heed the following advice:
- Bathe your pets as little as possible during cold spells. Washing too often can remove essential oils and increase the chance of developing dry, flaky skin. If your pooch must be bathed, ask your vet to recommend a moisturizing shampoo and/or rinse.
- Massaging petroleum jelly or other paw protectants into paw pads before going outside can help protect from salt and chemical agents. Booties provide even more coverage and can also prevent sand and salt from getting lodged between bare toes and causing irritation. Use pet-friendly ice melts whenever possible.
- Pets burn extra energy by trying to stay warm in wintertime. Feeding your pet a little bit more during the cold weather months can provide much-needed calories, and making sure they have plenty of water to drink will help keep them well-hydrated and their skin less dry.
- Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.
- Watch for frostbite on the tip of your pets ears, nose and paws.
- Remember, if it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet, so keep your animals inside! If left outdoors, pets can freeze, become disoriented, lost, stolen, injured or killed. In addition, don’t leave pets alone in a car during cold weather, as cars can act as refrigerators that hold in the cold and cause animals to freeze to death.
What should you do if you see a pet that has been left outside? Alyssa from the Animal Recuse League of Iowa says, “if you see stray animals in your area, or know of animals in need, call animal rescues in your area” and they will assist you.