Although the days are getting colder, your pet doesn’t have to. Here are a few simple tips for keeping your pet cozy and safe this season.
1. Invest in Proper Outdoor Housing
Every animal handles cold weather differently, so when pets stay outside all year long, it is important to be aware of their needs. When pets like dogs and cats are kept outside, they should be protected by a dry, draft-free shelter that is large enough for their body size, but small enough to hold in their body heat. For large reptiles, like Sulcata Tortoises, outdoor sheds should be insulated and heated. Providing heat for tortoises is essential, especially in North America where winters bring cold and, in some places, wet weather. Floors should be raised a few inches off the ground and the entrance should face away from the wind, while the doorway is covered with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic, depending on the type of animal the enclosure is for. Always make sure your pets have access to fresh, clean water in their shelter.
2. Protect Your Animals from Cold Weather Toxic Substances
When taking your pet for walks or excursions during cold weather, you should be aware of a few common toxic substances that could be an issue. For instance, antifreeze is the number one toxic substance to be aware of during the cold winter months. Antifreeze (ethylene glycol) smells and tastes sweet to dogs and cats. This deadly substance causes rapid kidney failure. It can take as little as one teaspoon to kill a cat and four teaspoons to kill a dog that weighs less than 10 pounds. To avoid ingestion, make sure that all antifreeze is stored out of your pet’s reach and any spills are cleaned up. If your pet does come in contact with antifreeze, call your veterinarian immediately for proper instructions.
Road salt is another toxin to be aware of. It is scattered everywhere in the winter months, which makes it hard to avoid. It can cause irritation to your pets’ mouth and paws, so if it is accidentally ingested, consult your veterinarian. Road salt can cause drooling, stomach upset, and electrolyte imbalances. If you have a dog and persistent exposure cannot be avoided, it is a good idea to protect their feet with specially made boots for dogs.
3. Get a Pet Heating Pad
Heating pads can be effective and versatile all throughout the year, but especially in the colder months. Heat pads can be used for a range of pets from dogs, cats, and other small mammals. They are also used extensively for exotic animals like snakes, lizards, amphibians, Sulcata Tortoises, and other turtles and reptiles. They are a safe, economical way to promote good health and growth for your pet.
Careful consideration should be given when selecting a heat pad for your pet. Based upon a research conducted at Iowa State University, the Stanfield Heat Pad is the only pad that distributes heat evenly over the length of the pad without any “hot spots.” They are made with a water tight material that can endure even the toughest wear-and-tear. Most heat pads are suitable for use in the home because they are very safe and require minimal electrical power use with a proper power control. This means that you can safely leave the heating pad turned on for an extended period of time while you leave your home without having to worry about the safety of the pad, your pet, or your home. Besides keeping your pet warm and safe, another benefit of getting a pet heating pad this season is that they can be used to comfort pets with arthritis, hip dysplasia, or other joint or muscles aches.