January 5, 2022
Navigating Winter Weather: Tips for Safeguarding Your Pets
Winter is a difficult time for our feline friends and canine buddies. Whether you're a pet owner or just someone who loves animals, it's important to be aware of how cold weather can affect them. In this article, I'll answer questions and provide some tips on what precautions one should take during winter to keep your furry friends safe and warm.
How cold is too cold for pets?
The exact temperature will vary depending on several conditions for pets being “too cold.” The vast majority of our pets have fur coats (unless we shave them off); however, they have variable warmth from their coats depending on their type of fur. My recommendation is that if the temperature including wind chill factor drops below 32 degrees fahrenheit, you will need to be aware that depending on your individual animal’s ability to keep out the cold, they could be at risk for frostbite.
Does cold weather affect cats and dogs?
Yes, cold weather affects both cats and dogs, very similarly to how it affects people. Animals will burn more calories staying warm and can be prone to cold injury especially on their extremities if not protected from the cold.
What temperature is safe for cats and dogs in winter?
Cats and dogs need to have a sheltered area that they can access; it should maintain a temperature above 32 degrees and supported by either an outside heat source or a shelter designed to be heated by their own body.
What are winter health risks?
Winter health risks for your animals include hypothermia, frostbite, dehydration, and skin injuries. Aside from frostbite, skin injuries could include irritation from sidewalk salt and/or an increased risk of laceration from cold weather dehydrating skin, making it more brittle to light trauma.
What are ways that I can protect my pet during winter? How do I keep my cats and dogs warm?
The best way to protect your pet during winter is to provide a dry, warm place for them to stay in and seek shelter as needed. Some important examples of an appropriate shelter include bringing them into your home, a heated garage, a warm barn, and/or a cold weather dog box. The most important thing to remember is that in the winter, pets need access to a warm, dry shelter at all times due to the unexpected nature of Ohio’s winter weather. It is not advised to leave your pet outside when you will not be there to give them access to a heated home.
Is hydration important for pets during the cold months?
Hydration is extremely important for your pet during the cold months. Cold air holds less moisture, and whereas warm air causes you to naturally lose more moisture by simply breathing during cold weather. It is very important to replace this moisture lost at a time when water sources are more likely to freeze. As such, it is crucial to make sure your pet has regular access to clean, liquid water every day.
Is it OK to groom my pet during the winter months?
A: Grooming your pet during winter months is still recommended for the betterment of health of your pet. It is just as important to remember that pets will be more prone to becoming cold when groomed in the winter; therefore, make sure your animal has a warm, dry place to keep from getting any cold injury when groomed in the winter. If your pet needs to be shaved during the cold months, we recommend shaving them, as well as purchasing a winter coat for your pet to wear outside.