With a cold front on its way bringing much colder temperatures to East Tennessee than is normal for this time of year, Young-Williams Animal Center is reminding pet owners to take extra precautions to make sure their four—footed family members are safe and warm. Here are some cold weather pet care tips to remember:
- When temperatures are below freezing, the best strategy is to keep all pets indoors. If you absolutely must leave them outdoors for a limited amount of time, provide a shelter for them to retreat to. It should be dry, draft-free, and well-insulated to protect them from the cold and wind.
- Refresh and clean pet shelter’s bedding. Straw works well to trap heat but needs to replaced periodically. Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.
- Check water bowls frequently to make sure they have plenty of water and the water is not frozen.
- Keep your pets dry. When coming in from a walk or play session in cold or rain, take extra care to wipe their legs, paws, and stomach.
- Recognize that some pets may need extra protection. This includes senior pets, puppies and dogs with shorter coats. Take them for shorter walks outdoors. You may also consider adding extra insulation, such as a dog sweater or footies.
- Check for cats under the hood of cars. Outdoor cats seeking warmth sometimes curl up under the hood of a recently parked car. They can be seriously injured or killed if the car is started. To prevent this, bang on the car hood and give the cat time to escape before starting your car.
- An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. To insure your pets are as healthy as possible heading into the winter months, make sure their vaccines and physical exams are up-to-date. Dogs and cats should be examined by a veterinarian at least once a year.
- Like coolant, antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle, as even small amounts can be deadly.