While most people know to bundle up and limit time outdoors this winter, pets rely on their owners to keep them safe.
“Just like people should prepare, you want to prepare for your pets as well,” said Dr. Erin Forbes of Mountain View Animal Hospital.
As the temperatures continue to drop, Dr. Forbes wants to remind dog owners that your pets get cold just like you do. She said when you’re outdoors this winter, it’s important to be aware of rock salt and other chemicals used to clear the roads.
“If you take your dogs for walks in the winter, you want to make sure you clean their paw pads when they come inside,” Dr. Forbes said. “Salt can really irritate them and if they lick it they can get sick from licking it.”
Doctor Forbes also recommends keeping an eye on the tips of their ears and nose, which can easily become frost bitten. The American Veterinary Medical Association suggests that short-haired dogs wear coats or sweaters when taken for walks. Forbes said those breeds get colder much more easily.
“If you’re at the dog park with your friend and they have a husky, your greyhound might not be able to stay outside as long as the husky does,” she said.
Animals stuck outside in the cold have been known to curl up under cars to stay warm. Dr. Forbes said honking before starting your car can stir them, and possibly save a life.
“Always bang on the top of your car to make sure there’s no cats under neath there,” she said. “It’s warm, because that’s where the engine is, so they get up there and hide.”
If your pet has been outside for too long, Dr. Forbes said it will shiver or resist walking. A good rule of thumb– if it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet.