Extreme weather presents challenges for many pets, especially those who spend all of their time outdoors. Animals must be able to get out of the elements so a well-insulated structure just large enough so that he/she can curl up inside to maintain body heat is critical. The structure should also have a wind-block to protect it from wintry blasts. In the coldest parts of the country, it should also have some sort of outdoor-rated pet heating pad or other device, as well as a constant supply of fresh unfrozen water using a heated bowl. Food is fuel so pets that spend significant time outside will need more calories during the cold winter months.
Indoor pets don’t face the same challenges that their outdoor counterparts do but efforts should be made to keep them comfortable. Older pets and pets with arthritis may need supplements or prescription medications to keep them comfortable and a soft, heated bed is always appreciated. A little extra exercise and less food can help pets with joint pain keep the extra weight off, the best remedy for these ailments. Also, remember to wipe pets’ paws, legs and bellies after they spend time outside to prevent them from ingesting de-icing solutions.
Cold-weather pet care is a matter of compassion and common sense. Use both in equal measure and pets will come through the season in great shape.
Source: Dr. Michel Selmer of Advanced Animal Care located at 260 Evergreen Avenue, Huntington Station. For additional information, call 631-FOR-PETS or visit AdvancedCareForPets.com.