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Winter is coming. The cold season brings with it some positives. The holidays are always a joyous time spent with friends and family. The snow creates a beautiful landscape to gaze upon while clutching a warm cup of coffee or cocoa. But winter also brings with it winter storms. While winter storms can cause concerns for humans, they also pose health risks for our precious pets. It’s important for pet owners to know the consequences that winter storms have for our furry little pals, and to have plans in place for when the harsh winter weather hits.
Keep Outdoor Time Brief
If there’s a winter storm approaching, or if there is a storm ongoing, try and keep the time your pets are outside as limited as possible. If you’re a cat owner, it’s best to entirely avoid the outdoors during the weather. The wind and snow can disorient your kitty, and lead to them easily losing their way. For dog owners, obviously, your pups will have to go outside to use the bathroom. During a severe winter storm, try to avoid taking them out during the worst of it. If your typical bathroom plan is to let them out in the backyard and to play around for some time before coming back in, during harsh winter weather you’ll need to revise that plan. Try leashing them and waiting outside with them as they go. Once they’re finished, even if they demonstrate that they want to stay out a bit longer to play, bring your dog back inside where they will be warm and safe.
How Cold is Too Cold?
Many people think that an animal’s fur keeps them protected from any winter condition. However, that isn’t the case. Like humans, pets can get frostbite from harsh winter weather. Also, different breeds and types of pets are going to have a different tolerance for winter weather. A Husky is going to fare much better in the cold than a Dachshund or a Tabby cat. Typically the longer the fur on your pet, the more tolerant they’ll be against the cold. Animals with shorter legs will get cold faster than those with longer legs, as their circulation of blood won’t be able to flow quick enough to keep them warm during the harsh weather.
Regardless of what kind of pet you have, it’s always better to play it safe. Limit their outdoor time as much as possible.
Plan Ahead on Pet Food and Medicine
During the winter, make sure you’re keeping an eye on the weather forecasts, so you know if a nasty storm is approaching. If you see that a blizzard is coming, you’ll want to make sure you have plenty of pet food on hand. You never know how long a storm will prevent you from leaving your home, and the last thing you want to do during a storm is combat icy roads in order to get pet food.
In additional to making sure you have plenty of pet food stocked up, if your pet requires regular medication, you’ll want to ensure that you’ve got plenty of that. If your current pet medication is running low and the timing of the store will effect your next filing date, give your vet a call. If you voice your concern about the storm they’ll usually work with you to make sure your beloved pet has all of the medications he or she requires throughout the duration of the storm.
Microchips and Smart Collars
As you prepare for the winter season, now is a great time to have your pet microchipped and to make sure the contact information on your pet’s tags are up to date. Accidents happen, even for the most cautious of pet owners. If your dog or cat is outside and some unexpected weather hits, there is an increased chance that they could get lost. High winds and snow both affect your pet’s sense of smell, which is a significant factor in how they navigate their way home. If you pet does get loose, you’ll want to have them microchipped. With a microchip inserted into your pet, if they get lost and turn up at a shelter, vet, or animal control, the staff at those venues can quickly and easily identify who the pet belongs to. A microchip contains all of a pet owner’s contact information, which will allow for you to be contacting and told where to come pick up your pet.
It’s always a savvy idea to have your pet microchipped. During the winter your pet not only has a greater chance of getting lost, but they also have a higher chance of being brought to a shelter and animal control. If other people find your pet out in the cold, they’ll recognize the concern and bring your pet somewhere safe. If it’s the middle of summer, some people might let your pet be and assume they’ll find their way home.
Like microchipping your pet, smart collars are an investment that pays off throughout the year, but are especially useful during the winter. A smart collar is a pet collar that has gps technology built into in. If your curious cat or adventurous dog get out and take a neighborhood stroll without you, you’ll be able to track their every movement from an internet-connected device. Pretty cool, huh?
While microchips provide information to identify a lost pet, a smart collar will allow you to locate your pet. Types of smart collars vary pretty significantly in price and in size. The largest determining factor in the price is the battery life that the gps tracker possesses. Some models feature a battery life of a few days, while other high-end models can last months on a single charge.
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