Pet Tips - Winter Protection - Ottawa Pet Photographer

Protecting pets from the cold temperatures!

Beth Photography - Pet Photographer - Servicing the Ottawa, Cornwall area.

Pet owners can protect their animals from the cold by taking a few precautions:

  • Keep them warm. Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.

  • Limit walks. Take your dog for shorter, more frequent walks and monitor your pet’s behaviour for signs of stress or discomfort.

  • Pedicures. Ice balls can form around your dog’s feet or between the toes. These can be painful and very uncomfortable. Clipping the hair around the feet will help reduce this.

  • Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth.

  • Buy him a coat. If he’s a small, short-haired, short-legged, elderly, or sick dog, he needs a coat to help combat the winter’s extreme temperatures. If he’s long-haired, don’t shave him. Let his long, fluffy coat keep him warm, but keep it clean and trimmed to minimize lingering snow and ice on his fur. Fortunately, there are so many brands and styles of dog coats that you’ll be sure to find something that not only protects your pup, but also makes him look and feel good.

  • Protect the paws. Be sure to wipe your dog's paws after returning from a walk to remove salt, sand and other chemicals designed to melt ice and snow. Massaging petroleum jelly or other paw protections into paw pads before going outside can help protect from salt and chemical agents. Booties provide even more coverage and can also prevent sand and salt from getting lodged between bare toes and causing irritation.

  • Outdoor pets. Dogs that live outside are required by law to have an insulated doghouse built from weather-proof material, facing away from prevailing winds. The shelter must be elevated from the ground with a door flap and bedding. Keep an eye on outdoor water bowls. Make sure your pet's water hasn't frozen in the cold. 

  • Keep her on a leash. Do not let your dog off-leash after a snowfall. Snow masks familiar scents and your pet may become lost and disoriented.

Beth Photography - Pet Photographer - Servicing the Ottawa, Cornwall area.

  • Don't leave him in the car. Did you know that leaving your pet in the car, even for a few minutes when it’s cold outside can be dangerous. A cold car becomes similar to a refrigerator and can quickly chill your pet. So, if you’re running errands on a frosty day, leave your dog at home.

  • Monitor his food intake. Indoor dogs are like people and bears during the winter. They hibernate, exercise less, and count the days until it’s spring. Since they sleep more and exercise less, they burn less calories. You don’t want them to gain weight, so watch their food and snack intake. While indoor dogs need less food in the winter, outdoor dogs need more, because it takes more energy to stay warm when it’s cold. Feeding your outdoor animal more and keeping his water bowl full can help provide much-needed calories and keep him well-hydrated throughout the winter.

  • Check your car. Be mindful of animals that may have crawled under your car to keep warm. Bang on the hood a couple of times to scare away cats and wildlife.

  • Antifreeze is lethal. Thoroughly clean up any spills of coolant from your vehicle. Antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats.

  • Let her be stinky. Washing your dog too often can remove essential oils and increase her chances of developing dry, flaky skin.

  • Keep an eye on fireplaces, space heaters, and any other hot surface that your dog may snuggle up to for warmth. He can be burned if he gets too close, electrocuted if he chews through the cord, or he could start a fire if he knocks it over, placing himself, your entire family and house in danger.

  • Keep him away from water. If you live near a pond, lake, or other body of water that freezes during the winter, be careful while walking him or letting him off his leash. Like people, animals can easily fall through the ice, and it’s very difficult for them to escape or be rescued.

  • Watch out for hypothermia and frostbite. When it’s cold, dogs are more susceptible to hypothermia and frostbite, but familiarity with them can help keep your pet safe. Hypothermia is a life-threatening condition that can result from extended exposure to cold temperatures, while frostbite is a temperature related tissue injury that most commonly occurs on ears, tails, scrotum or feet. If your dog is showing signs of shivering, shallow breathing, weak pulse or lethargy, she may be suffering from hypothermia. Discolored skin (red, pale, or grayish), swelling, or blisters, may indicate your dog has frostbite. If you suspect your dog has either of these temperature related illnesses, immediately take her to a warm, dry place and contact your vet.

  • Be prepared. Make your dog part of your disaster plan and ensure that he, too, has enough food, water, and medicine to last if you’re snowed in for an extended period of time.

Beth Photography - Pet Photographer - Servicing the Ottawa, Cornwall area.
Remember, if it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet. So, keep your animals inside.

Beth Photography - Pet Photographer - Servicing the Ottawa, Cornwall area.

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