Winter Care for Cats and Dogs

As the winter season fast approaches, many of us start thinking about shovelling, fun in the snow, and the holiday season. While temperatures are decreasing, we have to remember that our furry little friends are not immune from winters icy grip. While many cats are strictly indoor pets, we must consider these which are not and our canine pals who go outside to do their business. Here are a few tips to keep your pets (and other animals) safe during cold weather.

First off let’s talk about Mans Best Friend. Not all dogs have the same tolerance for cold temperatures. A Husky will fair better than a chihuahua in cold climates. With that said, even Huskies are not immune to hypothermia. Some things go without saying, like: don’t leave your pal out all night, don’t shave their coats down during cold months, and put a jacket and boots on your chilly pooch when going out for a walk.

There are other things to help keep pets safe such as:

  • Be mindful of antifreeze and don’t leave bottles laying around. Antifreeze is common during winter months for obvious reasons. If you leave your dog out unattended, be mindful that antifreeze tastes delicious and is extremely toxic.
  • Provide water outside. Even though it’s cold, little Daisy still needs a drink. Make sure there is always water available and that it is not frozen or in a metal dish.
  • Do not leave them in a parked car. No one dares to leave a dog in a parked car in the summer heat right? Did you know that leaving them in a parked car in the winter is also dangerous? Cars can cool down very quickly, and you could come back to a pupsicle.

We can’t forget about our feline friends. While a lot of cats are indoor cats, there are still some that like to venture outside and sadly a lot that are homeless. Same rules apply here:

  • Don’t leave them out all night.
  • Provide water.
  • Do not shave them down.
  • Feeding a cat wet food vs dry is easier on the digestive system and helps conserve energy.
  • A pinch of sugar can slow the water from freezing when it’s cold.
  • Small cat shelters have become popular especially for keeping stray Slyvesters warm and cozy. You can make one by using a styrofoam cooler or a plastic storage bin. Make a small door (the smaller the door, the more heat stays in), put some straw or shredded paper inside for bedding, place food and water inside (keep in mind that water and wet food will freeze so use a heated dish or a heating pad if available), then sprinkle a little catnip to attract your tabby tenets.
  • Also, remember that antifreeze is poisonous and driveway salt it toxic and corrosive.

Winter is a harsh time for many living creatures. By giving a little bit of extra effort during cold temperatures, we can ensure that our canine companions and feline friends have a toasty warm and safe winter season.

Written By: Torbay Road Animal Hospital