Protecting Pets When Temperatures Plunge

As the temperatures begin to drop, have you thought about your pet? Veterinarian Susan Nelson says that pets, in particular those living outdoors, need special attention during the winter months.
Simple items such as clean straw for warm bedding, a southerly or westerly facing shelter whose entry is covered by a heavy blanket, access to fresh water in a heated or plastic bowl, and especially important, the proper amount of food, can help prevent your pet from getting too cold.
“For your pets living outdoors, you will probably have to feed them a little extra. They are going to be burning more calories to keep warm so you are going to have to increase their food a little bit,” said Susan Nelson, Clinical Associate Professor in Clinical Sciences, Veterinary Health Center, Kansas State University.
For all of your indoor pets who still love to play in the snow, Nelson says that outerwear, such as a sweater or coat, can help your furry friend to retain their body heat, and pet booties can prevent sharp ice and snow melt from hurting their paws. Even with these added protections, how much is too when it comes to your pet’s outdoor fun?
A general rule of thumb is, if it is below freezing, and it’s too cold for you to stay out, however long you would be out there, your pet should not be staying out there any longer than you will,” said Nelson.
Nelson says it’s also important to remember that very young and very old animals can not regulate their body temperature as easily as a mature healthy animals and will need some extra tender care during the long cold months.

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