COLD SNAP: Don’t Forget the Pets!

hund-im-schneeThis time of year, everyone is looking to get out of the cold as quickly as possible.  And the one thing we hear more than anything when it comes to cold safety is the safety of pets.  Like so much else out there, common sense is usually the best yardstick for protecting your four legged friends, but there are some things to keep in mind when the mercury drops to dangerous levels…

One veterinarian group says the best advice is to know your pet and know their limits.  An animal’s tolerance of cold can vary greatly based on their fur coat, body fat, activity level and health.  One other thing to watch out for is their pads.  Paws can begin to quickly hurt when exposed to cold conditions such as ice or snow.  For those trying to keep their pets active, be sure to watch out for ice melt or salt, this can also be harmful to your loved one’s paws.  Most stores sell salt pellets that are pet friendly.

Bottom line, cats and dogs should be kept INSIDE when the weather gets too cold.  Although fur helps, it does not leave them immune from the extreme conditions.  They can be just as susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia as humans.

Another common problem involves the stray cat.  Cats often times will turn towards cars to stay warm, cramming themselves near the warmer engine block.  If you have a car that’s exposed and in an area where cats are often seen, it’s important to check underneath your car, bang the hood and even honk the horn before starting the engine in hopes of getting those unwanted felines out of the way before they get hurt.

If you have an outdoor that cannot come inside, be sure to give them plenty of drinkable, non-frozen water.  Also make sure they have some type of shelter against the wind, cold and snow.  Heated pet mats can help but you should not install space heaters or heat lamps in a doghouse because they can produce a serious fire or burn threat.

Above all else, if you notice something off about your pet, have them seen by a professional as soon as possible.  Taking extra precautions and keeping a close eye on any pet will help ensure that you don’t overlook something before it’s took late.  Here’s hoping all of us can stay warm in the days ahead!

Zach Sharpe

My name is Zach Sharpe. I am the president and forecaster for the Iowa Storm Chasing Network. You can find me on Twitter @Stormchaserzach and on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/stormchaserzach/

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