Now that the weather is getting colder and some of us are heading up to the snow, we here at Fit N Furry have a couple of tips to help keep your pets happy, healthy, and warm during the winter. There are many key elements that can help keep your pets safe that are easy to do.
One of these elements is having proper housing if your pet stays outside for long periods of time. Having dog houses with sloped roofs with insulation will help keep rain, snow, and wind out as well as keeping the heat in. Putting blankets in with your pet is ideal, it doesn’t necessarily matter if they are new blankets or old clothes, even straw is great for insulating body heat. Very young dogs and elderly dog should not be kept outside for long in order keep them healthy. Remember that wind chill will make your pet colder than the actual temperature outside.
Another great way to keep your pets warm is clothing. Pet stores today have everything from sweaters, shoes, beanies, or pajamas in all types of material and sizes. Sweaters and shirt will insulate your pets’ body temperature while shoes or booties are ideal when walking your pet during the cold or in the snow; salt, magnesium, and snow can all get in between your pets toes causing irritation.
We all know exercise is important but during the cold weather it is better to have limited time outside. Shorter walks and time outside helps prevent hypothermia and frostbite which can be fatal if not treated in time.
We all know that humans can get hypothermia and frostbite in the cold but did you know animals can too? Not everyone knows the symptoms of hypothermia or frostbite so to help keep everyone safe here are the signs and treatment methods for both.
Hypothermia is when the body’s temperature falls below normal levels, so it’s sort of like the opposite of a fever. A dog’s normal body temperature should be 100-101 degrees and cat’s normal body temperature should be 100.5 to 102.5 degrees. The most obvious symptom is low body temperature or shivering, others you might not be aware of are lethargy, muscle stiffness, dilated pupils, slow reactions, slow movements, lack of co-ordination, shallow breathing, and unconsciousness. Use thick warm blankets and warm water bottles (Place on abdomen) to help raise your pets body temperature. If you don’t have any blankets or warm water bottles available, you can use jackets. Remember to immediately call your vet or an emergency clinic.
Frostbite is tissue damage that is caused by exposure to extreme cold conditions. Symptoms for frostbitten tissue usually will appear pale or gray and as the area thaws it will turn red. In severe cases the tissue will eventually turn black and may disconnect from the rest of the body. The important thing to remember if your pet gets frostbite is to never massage the injured areas for it is extremely painful and can make the injury worse. The frostbitten areas need to quickly warmed and to seek immediate vet attention.
We hope these tip will help keep everyone happy, safe, and warm this winter!