Yes, we’re bracing for a big snowstorm here at GreatPetHealth headquarters. It’s been a pretty mild winter up until now, so maybe that’s why we’ve been lazy about talking about pets and snowstorms. Sorry about that–and sorry if you’re in Miami or some other place where you can laugh at us here at GreatPetHealth headquarters. We still feel the need to go back to basics about when the white stuff comes down on human and pets alike. Here’s the short list of very good advice–and if you’re like us, you’re already always ready to go off to the veterinarian when necessary… [photo via imgur]
We’re tempted to just assume that nobody’s going to leave their pets outside during a snow storm. But, just in case–bring your pets inside! And don’t forget to keep shoveling snow to keep the entrance way clear if your animals have access to a back yard for the occasional trip to the bathroom. Some animals like frolicking in the deep snow, but you still need room to swing the door open and get your pet going.
We’re kind of fanatical about always having your dog on a leash, but that’s really important when walking your dog in the snow. They can lose track of their scents very quickly in a snowstorm. If you have a chance to let your dog frolic in the snow, then make sure it’s in an enclosed area.
Stay on cat patrol. You may know where your cat is, but you won’t know where your neighbor’s cat is–and the lil’ guy might be staying warm inside the hood of your car. A cat can be badly injured when an engine starts up, so give the hood of your car a good whack while getting into your car.
Antifreeze is always scary. It’s pretty tasty to plenty of pets, and it doesn’t take much antifreeze to kill one of them. Just don’t concentrate on keeping your own antifreeze out of reach. Watch out for it on the street and in driveways when you’re walking your dog.
It’s a bad idea to let your dog eat snow. Yes, it’s cute, and maybe you’re sure there’s no antifreeze there, but snow can cause hypothermia and stomach problems.
We know that you’re a responsible dog owner that would never leave a dog alone in a hot car–but it can be just as bad for a dog who’s left in a cold car during extreme weather. It’s not warmer in there. In fact, a car can turn into a freezer.
Puppies and older dogs are going to have a much harder time during a snowstorm. We know you don’t need an excuse to cuddle them, though.
You might be the type to make fun of the idea, but dog sweaters and jackets can really be important to a short-haired breed–or even just a smaller dog. Yes, we know that a few dogs just have no interest in wearing anything. You still should do some serious shopping for a Chihuahua, Greyhound, Whippet, or Miniature Pinscher.
• On the chance that you really, really can’t let your pets indoor, and you don’t have a heated area for them: Make sure they have a dry enclosure, and keep it snug. Your pets will be depending on their body heat to warm themselves. Any enclosure should be off the ground, and it’s always a good idea to turn it against the worst of the wind.
• We love the idea of a dog or cat curling up by a fireplace. We hate the idea of a random spark–or even soot–injuring our pets. Keep that safety guard up, and don’t leave your pet alone by the fire. There sure are times when they don’t want to move, though.
• A pet that’s shivering or shaking too much needs to be brought inside immediately. Always err on the side of being paranoid when it comes to deciding if a pet is shaking or shivering too much.
Have a bowl ready for your dog’s paws when you return from taking him from a walk. His paws can pick up antifreeze, salt, and other things that would likely end up in your pet’s mouth after a good licking. Your dog can also pick up snow and ice that might last long enough to harm the paw pads. Dog booties are always a great idea. It’s also a great idea to have a dog who’ll tolerate wearing dog booties, but that won’t work out for some of us.