|"I'm ready for Christmas--where's the snow?"|
In cold weather, pets have particular needs and must be taken care of in specific ways. The American Animal Hospital Association states on the "Cat Care Guide" that,
"Cold weather can be hard on pets, just like it can be hard on people. Sometimes owners forget that their pets are just as accustomed to the warm shelter of the indoors as they are. Some owners will leave their animals outside for extended periods of time, thinking that all animals are adapted to live outdoors. this can put their pets in danger of serious illness."
|"Presents for me?"|
There are ten tips for keeping pets healthy during the cold months.
1. Get pets a check up at the veterinarian before cold weather sets in. This can help to catch any medical problems that might make living in the cold harder for the animal.
2. Keep pets inside as much as possible once the temperature drops. For Finnegan, who is a year-round inside pet, this is not a problem.
3. Health, fur length, and other factors contribute to how the cold will affect pets. Generally speaking, animals with health problems and short fur will not manage as well in the cold as animals with long fur and no health problems.
4. Cats like to curl up to warm objects to get warm--including dangerous objects. Watch out around car engines, heaters and fire places. Cats can get caught and harm themselves or knock over heaters, which is a fire hazard.
5. If they play outdoors near ice on a lake or pond, watch out for animals that will run out onto the frozen water. Small animals easily can break through the ice and won't be able to escape without help.
6. Keep a carbon monoxide alarm working at all times. Heaters, furnaces and other electrical devices can let off the dangerous gas, which is just as deadly to pets as it is humans.
7. If pets go walking outside on roads that have been salted because of ice, make sure to wash the pads of their feet to keep them from drying out, cracking, and bleeding.
8. Make sure that outdoor water bowls do not freeze over. If they do, break up the ice or dump it out and provide pets with fresh water.
9. Older pets suffer more during the winter, so be gentle with them. Cold weather can stiffen their joints so they will be more prone to falling and injuring themselves.
10. Dress pets up. Although they might not enjoy it, go ahead and put sweaters on outdoor pets. It will keep them warmer and they might learn to enjoy looking like a little human.
[See Part 2 for more]