— There are many precautions people take when the cold weather rushes in for the winter. Pets can also be heavily affected by the drop in temperatures and so it is important to take note of these precautions.
Prior to the first freeze, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian for a checkup. You need to be aware of the existing illnesses your pet has; some chronic illnesses can worsen in the winter.
If you have small pets it is best to keep them in a warm shelter, like your house, for nights below freezing. As a precaution it is important to do a home inspection prior to the winter months, because your furnace can leak carbon monoxide which can be a silent killer for you and your pets. It is also necessary to check windows and door panes for drafts which can suck out the warm air and bring in the cold winter air.
If your pet does stay outside check it’s paws for sharp ice or embedded snow which can lead to frostbite and further damage.
If your animals can not be brought inside due to their size Dr. Leslie Easterwood, clinical assistant professor in equine medicine at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM), explains ways your animal can be protected from the cold temperatures.
“Herd animals tend to congregate together to conserve body heat, and will generally protect the young ones in the center,” said Easterwood. “If it is not wet, and merely cold, then all they should need is a wind break.”
“Their natural winter coat traps air against the skin when it fluffs up, and this insulates them,” notes Easterwood. “Their natural fat cover also helps to add insulation as well.”
“Cold, wet weather calls for some type of covered protection if at all possible,” said Easterwood. “They will also need additional roughage or hay in order to produce their own body heat.”