Always play it safe, and each year when winter comes, reassess your dog’s tolerance, which will go down as they get older. Keep a close eye on your dog while they are outside with you to watch for these two deadly signs…
When your dog is exposed to temperatures below the normal degrees for too long, flu can set in. What you have to notice for is if a dog has a flu they will start to develop a cough that is typically moist and can have nasal discharge. Sometimes it will be more of a dry cough, In most cases the symptoms can last for few days but during winter it can last longer. If the symptoms persist and your doggy develops a high fever, red eyes,excessive coughing or sneezing then contact your local vet immediately.
Hypothermia occurs when the dog’s body temperature goes below normal as a result of prolonged exposure to cold temperatures, is another very real danger during the cold winter months. Symptoms of hypothermia typically include shivering, lethargy, a low heart rate, slow breathing and unresponsiveness. If you notice any of these symptoms, immediately bring your dog inside your warm house or room-temperature car and contact your veterinarian.
Side Note : A dog’s internal system works extra hard in the cold to maintain appropriate body temperatures. As such,your dog needs extra fuel to burn and generate heat. Also, remember to provide plenty of fresh drinking water. It is just as easy to get dehydrated in the winter as it is in the summer if proper amounts of water are not consumed.
Pets who spend a lot of time outdoors need more food in the winter because keeping warm depletes energy. Routinely check your pet's water dish to make certain the water is fresh.
No matter what the temperature is, windchill can threaten a pet's life. Exposed skin on noses, ears and paw pads are at risk during extreme cold snaps.
For this reason, short-haired dogs often feel more comfortable wearing a sweater—even during short walks.
A cats winter guide :
For many, it seems this winter is never going to end. While many cats are pleased to stay indoors, let’s not forget about our more adventurous kitties who either stay outdoors or try to sneak out as soon as the door is opened. Keep your kitties safe this winter with these five tips:
1) Bring your kitty inside :
If you’re left shivering and shaking from a quick stroll outside, it’s likely too cold for your kitty too. Although they may be used to spending their days in the great outdoors, and as much as they may seem like they want to stay outside, their health and safety are more important.
2) Make warm and cozy places indoors :
Whether you’re using an energy-saving thermostat that lowers the temperature at night, or your windows just aren’t as insulated as you’d like, it can still get pretty chilly when you’re inside your home during the winter. Make sure Kitty has plenty of warm and cozy places to curl up inside your home – this is a great bribe for those kitties that may be reluctant to come inside. A cat bed or blanket will do the trick…although we all know she’ll probably end up sleeping in your bed, anyway.
3)Bang on the hood of your car before driving :
Outdoor cats often seek shelter from the cold under cars. Before you get in your car, don’t forget to knock on the hood to scare away hiding kitties, and do a quick peek below to make sure they’ve left.
4) Build an outdoor shelter
Outdoor cats may struggle to keep warm and find food in the winter. An outdoor cat shelter can help keep your outdoor cat (and neighborhood strays) protected and warm.
If there are outdoor cats, either owned pets or community cats in your area, remember that they need protection from the elements as well as food and water. It's easy to give them a hand.
(Cars are one of many hazards to small animals—warm engines in parked cars attract cats and small wildlife, who may crawl up under the hood. To avoid injuring any hidden animals, bang on your car's hood to scare them away before starting your engine.)
Now that we have a basic understanding to safeguard our dogs & cats how about other pets like guinea pigs, hamsters or rabbits ?
Here are a couple of tips for people with these pets :
Guinea pigs/Hamsters/Rabbits winter guide:
1) Keeping your pets hutches warm in winter is very important, hutches should be positioned so that wind, rain, snow or sleet can’t blow in. If the weather’s particularly bad, move the hutch into an unused garage or shed if it’s possible. For guinea pigs, it’s better to keep them inside in winter, in a conservatory or unused garage.
2) If your pet needs to stay outside, help keep them snug as a bug in their hutch by covering the front with an old blanket or sacking and adding extra bedding. Don’t forget you need to change their bedding regularly.
3) Check their water bottle regularly. Press the ball every few hours to keep it moving – you can get specially made bottle covers but you’ll still need to do regular checks.
4)Your pet still needs to have access to their run during the day so they can get their regular exercise.
Winter months can be just as hazardous to your pet's health as the summer months. But by taking the right precautions and using good old common sense, you can help protect your pets from the dangers that can accompany the harsh winter climate.