Some things to consider when it comes to looking after pets in the cold weather

Callie Hermanson
Lakeside Leader

Bone-chilling winds, slippery icy streets, and knee-high snowdrifts—winter isn’t coming, it’s already here.

Pet owners may be familiar with the dangers summer can bring for pets, but do pet owners know that winter has its own set of challenges?

For example, almost everyone knows that in the summer, a car feels more like an oven to pets and can cause heatstroke; but in the winter, that same car feels like a freezer and may cause hypothermia.

Below are some tips and to help keep pets warm and avoid cold weather problems.

Veterinarian Dr. Amiee Green with Slave Lake Veterinarian Services says winter is tough on a dog’s paws. She says ice often accumulates between the pads and toes, leading to sore paws and even hypothermia or frostbite.

Green says another issue is the salt used to melt ice on the road and sidewalks.

She explains it can lead to a chemical burn on paws and dogs may lick their paws and ingest the chemicals. To avoid any problems, Green says to either try and limit the time your dog spends walking on the road or quickly wipe down their feet and legs as soon as you get home.

She also suggests putting winter booties on dogs’ paws for protection.

Green says for cats and or dogs who live outside all year round, it is important that they always have access to a heated, insulated shelter. She adds to check more frequently to make sure pets have access to fresh drinking water, as it will freeze in cold temperatures. She says a heated water dish could be a useful investment.

She also explains that cats, whether it be your own pet or a stray, will always be looking for places to keep warm in the winter months.

“One of the more common places cats hide is under car hoods. I recommend banging on your hood or honking to scare cats that may have chosen your car for the night.”

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