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Cold Weather and Pets | Alabama Public Radio

I found a good way to stay warm!
Credit anneheathen [Flickr]

Watching the weather forecast helps us to plan our activities.  It can also help us keep our best friends safe from the dangers of winter weather.

It’s getting a lot colder outside – winter is definitely here. As the temperatures drop, many of us reach for our heavy jackets, coats, boots, gloves – whatever it takes to keep us warm. We also need to consider our furry friends and help them endure the cold weather. The Alabama Veterinary Medical Association has a few tips to help you keep your pet safe.

Start with a good coat brushing, especially for long-haired animals. Removing the dead hair which can create mats in the fur will actually help your pet’s coat do a proper job of providing some insulation.

Even if you think your pet is accustomed to cold weather, vets strongly recommend bringing them indoors when the temperature drops into the teens or lower. Pets with short hair, or those who are very young, elderly or in poor health, need to be inside if the temperature is lower than forty degrees.

For an outdoor pet in cold temperatures, there are some things you can do to help it be more comfortable. One is to provide shelter, where the animal can get out of the wind and rain. It could be a dog house, a shed, a garage or laundry room, as long as it has a protected place to sleep that is raised off the ground at least a couple of inches. If the temperature stays at or below freezing, provide fresh water several times a day because water that has been outside, even in a clean bowl, may be frozen and undrinkable.

Every winter many cats are seriously injured or killed when, in search of warm places to sleep, they crawl up into the engine compartments of cars. Before starting your car, pound on the hood to make sure your daily routine doesn’t turn into a tragedy.

And remember that antifreeze is poisonous for dogs and cats, who may be tempted by its sweet taste. When protecting your vehicle from cold weather, take time to clean up any spills which could kill a pet.

Following the advice of the Alabama Veterinary Medical Association, along with some common sense and a little extra attention, could make this a safer and more comfortable winter season when you’re speaking of pets.




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