With the ridiculously cold weather upon us, keeping you and your pet safe when you have to go out is critical. Here are Dr. Royal’s top ten safety tips –
1. Brief walks! Out to do business and back inside!
2. Don’t let them off-leash. More pets are lost in frigid temperatures than in the warm months. Sense of smell is decreased in the cold. Make sure you have current tags on any pet going outdoors.
3. Coats & shoes! Coats for any animal with short haircoats, or no fur and for puppies, animals that are very thin, very old or just very small – they get cold VERY quickly! Put foot protection on little ones, and animals with sensitive feet – Booties, Musher’s Wax, or something. (If you don’t have booties, you can use wool socks for brief walks).
4. Don’t close shave them, and don’t shave the fur between their toes.
5. Keep cats indoors during this weather.
6. Bang on the hood of you car before starting in case outdoor cats have climbed in. It gives them warning to get out.
7. Rinse pet’s feet when coming in from outside to get rid of abrasive salts from the street. Check feet for cuts from ice.
8. Warm a cold pet with blankets, hot water bottle, your own body heat (put them under your coat if they are small), or even blowing with a warm hair dryer (from at least 1 foot distance).
9. Feed them some coconut oil to help with the dry skin from the cold dry winds (1 tsp for a 20lb dog, 1 tbsp for dogs >50lbs – even cats may like a little).
10. If they won’t poop because of the snow you can tromp down or shovel snow, plant some dog poop in an area so they can smell it and go there. Put on a Thunder Shirt to relax them for walks (or a snug coat). Usually if they really have to go, they will.
Driving south is a last resort….