How To Care For Your Dog During Freezing Cold Weather And Snow Spells

  • 24/01/2019

The freezing temperatures don't just affect our wellbeing, extremely cold weather can also take its toll on our pets too.

Leading out-of-hours vets, Vets Now, say they're preparing themselves for a rise in cold weather cases as icy conditions continue.

Common cold weather issues their vets will treat include cats and dogs suffering from:

  • frostbite on paws
  • breathing difficulties from dogs who have short-noses
  • pets injuring themselves due to icy and slippery surfaces

But, with a little forward planning, you can help protect your pet from the winter chill.

Here, Dr Laura Playforth, Vets Now's head of veterinary standards, shares her top tips for caring for your dog in cold weather.

1. If it's too cold for you, it's too cold for your pet

Keep your pets inside, especially overnight, when temperatures plummet, otherwise they run the risk of getting frostbite or hypothermia. If your pet is showing signs of either of these, contact your vet immediately. Remember, too, that temperatures indoors can also plummet. If you’re out, try to make sure temperatures in your home never fall below a reasonable level (around 20C).

2. Change up their walks

It’s worth considering taking your dog on shorter, more frequent walks to protect them from weather-associated health risks.

3. Wash and dry your pet's feet following walks

Salt and chemicals used to grit roads and pavements can be an irritant to your pet’s pads, especially if they have any small cracks or redness between the toes. So, always wipe their paws with a cloth and warm water when you get home.

4. Don't let your pet fall victim to antifreeze

Antifreeze poisoning is a major hazard during cold snaps, especially if it leaks from a car’s radiator, or spills on the ground while being sprayed on frozen car windows. Remove ice from vehicles using an old-fashioned scraper, keep containers of antifreeze locked away and clean up any spills quickly, as even small amounts can be deadly.

5. Check under your car

Cats who are allowed outside during cold spells may try to cosy up under a warm vehicle engine. Check underneath your car, and bang on the bonnet, before starting the engine to make sure you don’t have a feline hitchhiker on board.

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