Keeping Pets Safe In Extreme Cold Winter Weather

This recent past winter season proved that whether the extreme cold climate is for a few days or weeks, our pets deserve special care. While over 600,000 heads of cattle were lost in one state alone even before the arrival of first so-called icy vortex, few reports were heard about precious family pets that were lost due to severely cold temperatures. 

Our overview below covers certain aspects of how to keep your family pets safe–before extreme winter weather again pays its annual visit.

Best Breeds For Severe Cold Weather
Many are familiar with movies about Alaskan Huskies braving the elements as they form part of a racing team of dogs. Perhaps a Saint Bernard scaling the Swiss Alps on a search-rescue team conjures visions of special breeds that are more naturally adaptable to freezing temperatures. 

However, the truth is that not all dogs are well suited for low winter temperatures. Not all dogs do well in the ice or snow. Moreover, no matter the breed, all pets need shelter and protection against the icy elements and sudden plunges of temperature.

Like their human masters, they’re susceptible to arthritis, dampness, hypothermia and frostbite–especially if they are very young or old. Shelter from the wind, rain and snow is more effective when combined with added straw or blankets that produce some sort of insulation. 

However, pets that chew almost anything in sight need to be kept away from easily ingested materials and certain woods. Cuttings or shavings from Cedar wood especially prove irritating to some pets. 

Special Heating Equipment
Heat lamps, space heaters and/or gas generators may prove dangerous for both you and your pet. Closed garages offer another form of potential danger to cats that like to sit near an engine for warmth so be sure to honk several times before taking off. Be certain to look for open containers of antifreeze liquids or other chemical solvents that may be laying around a shed or garage area.

Water Supply
A fresh supply of water is crucially important for a pet under stress from extreme cold temperatures. Also, be sure the water remains liquid for easy drinking and doesn’t turn to ice.

Foot Care
Whether your pet is arthritic or not, special attention to their paws or hoofs is vitally important. Outdoor pets sometime develop ice balls between their furry toes. In that case, a good pair of doggie boots can give needed protection for playful romps in the snow.

An animal trying to climb out of a frozen lake or pond that has broken is one tragic picture many people are familiar with. They love to play with nearby human companions and don’t know about the dangers of falling in icy waters so be attentive to this possibility.

Winter Traveling
Many people travel during the winter months by choice or necessity so please bear in mind to the following carry-on items: 

  • Phone numbers of two or three vets on your travel route
  • Sufficient pet food
  • Litter or other means of waste disposal
  • A fresh water supply
  • Warm bedding with blankets, pillows and play toys
  • Supplies of needed medication

Bearing the above points in mind, both you and your pets can now look forward to a much safer and less stressful winter–no matter how cold the barometer drops.