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Cold Weather and Your Pet

December 11, 2014

There are certain breeds that do really well in the cold, for example Siberian Huskies and Saint Bernards; and other breeds that need a coat when the temperature drops, such as Chihuahuas and Greyhounds. Breeds that should have a coat or sweater when temperatures drop are the small breeds, light bodied breeds and breeds with a short coat.  If your dog does not want to go outside when it is cold or if you keep a dog with long hair cut short he/or she may benefit from a sweater.  Larger dogs with a thick coat may be too hot if they are put in a sweater or coat because they already have a natural coat designed for cold weather; putting an extra layer on these dogs may actually lead to overheating.

Salt and many ice melters can burn dogs and cats feet.  Try to avoid areas where there is salt on the ground and use a pet friendly ice melter around your house.  You can bring a towel on walks to wipe the salt off or apply booties which you can buy to protect your dogs feet.

Outdoor cats need special care when it gets very cold.  They need shelter to stay warm and fresh water, since it will freeze once temperatures drop below freezing.  If it is going to be very cold or there is a lot of snow expected, bring cats inside or provide a sheltered area that is warm.

Another concern for winter time is Antifreeze toxicity. Antifreeze is toxic to cats and dogs, but it has a sweet smell and taste that attracts pets. Once a pet drinks antifreeze, it quickly damages the kidneys and can lead to permanent kidney failure within hours after ingestion.  It is important to bring your pet to the vet immediately if you find out or suspect that they have ingested antifreeze.

Keep warm, be safe and enjoy the winter!

Dr. Belvedere

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