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Its freezing cold here and I feel so lazy to get up from my bed. I was looking for Bruno and found him under the blanket with his face red in color. As a pet owner, I felt really bad for him, for not taking the preventive measures to keep him safe and comfortable. The best way to keep your pet (dog or cat) safe from this bitter cold condition is to keep him inside with you and your family. Taking your dog outdoors when its cold out there is not a good idea as windchill can threaten a pet’s life. If you are taking him for a walk, wear him a sweater so that he/she will feel comfortable. My Bruno loves to walk in a sweater. He feels like a hero when dressed up in a sweater and come with me for a walk. Unlike humans, pets are very sensitive to severe cold and are at risk for hypothermia and frostbite. Exposure to windchill and snow can freeze your pet’s ears, noses and paw pads and result in permanent damage.
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- Prevention is always better than cure: Pets love to play around by your side. They love to be cared and loved by you. The way you keep yourself protected from the cold weather, your pet also deserves to stay comfortable. Here are some of the preventive steps you can take for your dog before the winter knocks your door. This one’s for all the pet owners out there who actually missed to take care of their dog during winter, just like me. Am sorry Brunoo 🙁 🙁 🙁
- A draft-free shelter: If for some reason, your dog is outdoors much of the day, he or she must be protected by a dry, large draft-free shelter to allow the dog to sit and lie down relaxing. The floor should be raised a few inches off the ground and covered with cedar shavings or straw. The doorway should be covered with a heavy plastic or waterproof burlap.
- Feed him with plenty of food and water: Pets who spend most of the time outdoors need more food in the winter. Also, check your pet’s water dish on a daily basis to make sure that the water is fresh and unfrozen. Use plastic bowls for food and water especially when the temperature is low. Using other bowls during winter can freeze your pet’s tongue to metal.
- Check the paws: Frequently check your dog’s paws for signs of cold-weather injury or damage, such as cracked paw pads or bleeding. If you find a sudden lameness during a walk, it may be due to an injury or due to ice accumulation between his/her toes.
- Keep antifreeze poisoning out of reach: Antifreeze is a deadly poison that can attract animals and children. Keep your dog away from antifreeze. Coolants that are made of proplene glycol are are less posionous.
- Pet-proofed home: It is obvious that your pet will spend most of his/her time indoors during winter. So it’s good that you ensure that your house is properly pet-proofed. Use space heaters with caution around pets, because they can burn or they can be knocked over. Check your furnace before winter strikes in and make sure if it’s working properly. You can install carbon monoxide detectors to keep your entire family on the safer side.
- Stay away from ice: Avoid walking with your dog through frozen ponds, lakes and other water as you don’t know if the ice will support your dog’s weight, and if your dog slips through the ice, it could be deadly.
- Find his problems: Winter is a season where your dogs come with different kind of allergies. They start showing symptoms, which you might have ignored or not taken into consideration. Your slight ignorance can put your dog’s health under risk. If your pet is shivering, whining or seems anxious, it means they are showing signs of hypothermia. If you suspect your dog has hypothermia or frostbite, consult your vet immediately.
- Provide choices: Just like you, your pets prefer sleeping at comfortable places and hence may change from their location based on their need for more or less warmth. Same is the case with pets. Give them some safer options to allow them to change their sleeping place to adjust to their needs.
- Take care of his nutritional needs: Outdoor pets will require more calories in the winter to generate enough body heat and energy to keep them warm. Talk to your veterinarian about your pet’s nutritional needs during winter.
- Keep stock of first aid: Cold weather also brings the risk of blizzards and power outages. Prepare a disaster emergency kit, both for you and your pet. Make sure your dog is fed with enough food, water and medicine. If its too cold for you, its too cold for your pet. Bring them inside and take care of them.