Special to GUIDON
As snow hits the ground, it’s tempting to think your pet’s fur will keep them warm while they’re outside. But remember — if it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for your pet.
The Humane Society of Missouri urges all pet owners to keep the safety of their four-legged friends top of mind this winter with the lifesaving motto, “35 degrees and below, protect Fido.”
Remember these six tips to protect pets in cold temperatures:
Bring pets inside
Just like people, cats and dogs are susceptible to hypothermia and frostbite and should not be left outside in the cold for prolonged periods of time, no matter the circumstance.
Provide a cozy space
If there are no other options and dogs are going to be left outdoors, owners must provide a well-insulated, draft-free, appropriately sized doghouse with a sturdy, flexible covering to prevent icy winds from entering.
Press “paws” on pet injuries
Check your animal’s paws frequently for signs of cold-weather damage, such as a cracked paw pad, redness between toes and any bleeding, especially after a walk.
Layer up your pup
If your dog has a thinner coat or seems bothered by cooler temperatures, consider a sweater or a dog coat. But be careful — a wet sweater or coat can actually make your dog colder, so keep it dry.
Make sure to quickly clean up any antifreeze spills or buildup, as it is poisonous and can cause serious health issues. Dry your pet off with a towel after they have been outside to remove ice, salt and chemicals.
Schedule a winter wellness exam
If your pet has not visited the veterinarian for their annual wellness exam, don’t delay. Cold weather may worsen certain medical conditions such as arthritis, so prepare your pet for the season by visiting the vet.
To report an animal in distress, call the Animal Cruelty Hotline at 314.647.4400.
(Editor’s note: This article is from the Humane Society of Missouri.)