Batten down the hatches, Brook Farmers! We're expecting the first heavy snow of the winter soon. As with summer heat, the colder temperatures require keeping a special eye on pet safety. Read below and make sure you're ready to keep your pets healthy and safe when winter weather strikes.
Stay inside Our beloved cats and dogs should always kept inside during winter weather. An old misconception about house pets is that they're more resistant to colder temperatures than people are because of their fur but that is dangerously untrue. Just like humans, cats and dogs can suffer from hypothermia and frostbite. And, while it's true that some dog breeds, like Huskies, are better suited to handle colder climates, no pet should be left outside in below-freezing weather.
Keep paws clean When your dog steps outside, there can be any number of chemicals underfoot. Things like salt, de-icers, antifreeze can make a pooch very ill if ingested. Take a moment to wipe down their feet at the door and use that time to check for cracked or bleeding paws.
Check under the hood Feral cats and small animals like squirrels will climb under a car hood or wheel wells for warmth. Starting a car with an unsuspecting animal inside somewhere can get them seriously hurt or killed. Slap the car hood or honk the car's horn prior to turning ignition and give them a chance to run.
Use that leash Many pets end up lost during the winter because snowfall can hinder their ability to recognize scents that would help guide them home. Keep your dog leashed if he or she has to go out. Call the Brook Farm office to check that their microchip information is up to date!
Eyes on alert With seasonal changes making it nighttime sooner, many of us must walk the family dog out when it's dark outside. Use a reflective leash, collar, or vest on your good boy or girl, especially if you must walk them near any roads.
Skip the car ride Just as you wouldn't leave a pet in an overheated car during the summer, avoid taking them out and keeping them in the car when temperatures are below freezing.
Be ready A heavy snowfall can bring power outages or leave us stuck at home for several days. Be sure that any family emergency plan includes care for the family pets. Keep an emergency kit at the ready with extra food, water and any of your pet's medication for at least 5 days. It's very unlikely you will need it, but if you do, you'll be very glad you planned ahead.
Get your cat or dog to their wellness visit Cold weather can be agony for older cats and dogs with arthritis or other chronic health conditions. And younger animals need protected from colds. Check in with your Brook Farm team and help kee your furbaby healthy when winter arrives.
Are you ready for the snow? Stop by the Brook Farm Veterinary Center Facebook page and tell us how you and your pets get ready for the colder weather.