Is your pet well protected in winter?
It’s no secret that as soon as the mercury begins to fall below the freezing point, it’s necessary to exercise caution to avoid frostbite. What about your pet? Despite their thick coat, animals are very sensitive to winter temperatures – it is therefore necessary to take extra precautions. To learn how to protect your pet during the cold season.
The most fragile animals
Small sized juveniles and seniors, like those with short hair, are more susceptible to cold; the use of a coat designed for this purpose is often necessary during winter outings. In addition, animals that are used to living indoors are generally much more affected by low temperatures than those living outdoors. It is therefore recommended to place their cushion near a source of heat and, above all, away from drafts!
Take care of their paws
Several problems await your dog during a winter walk, but it is possible to prevent some. For example, trimming the long hair between his pads will prevent the formation of ice sheets that can cause frostbite under his feet. In addition, frequent cutting of your pet's claws will maximize their stability on the ice.
Upon your return home, completely dry your dog. Also take the time to thoroughly rinse their paws to dislodge ant salt stuck between their toes, which will prevent any burns. Know that there are boots/slippers specifically designed to protect fragile animals from cold and chemicals.
Beware of snow
Even if ingesting snow may seem innocuous, it can cause severe gastric problems in your pet. Also, make sure their belly is not in prolonged contact with the snow during the walk, because it could cause frostbites.
The animal's hair is naturally covered with sebum, a fatty substance that acts as an insulator. Grooming your dog would only result in the disappearance of this layer of sebum as well as a large amount of hair, its two best allies against winter cold. However, weekly brushings are recommended.
Adapt your winter habits
In winter, if your cat or dog lives outdoors, you should give them 20% extra food daily to offset the energy required to maintain their temperature. (This practice of leaving animals outdoors is rare these days, we usually see owners and some good Samaritans bring their pets inside and sometimes even stray animals.)
It is also essential to provide protection against wind and snow; to properly isolate the shelter, place straw or dead leaves at the bottom to absorb moisture. Now, remember that it is essential to keep your pet indoors during extreme cold.
In short, by taking the necessary precautions, your pet will enjoy the winter safely. At Victoria Veterinary Hospital, you can count on our dedicated staff to provide you with more advice and care for your pet as needed. Contact us if you have any questions or make an appointment at one of our 4 hospitals in Montreal, Verdun or at our South Shore veterinary hospitals in St-Lambert and Greenfield Park/St-Hubert.