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8 Ways Cold Weather Affects Pet Health

Just like you, your pet reacts to the weather. Now that the cold months are here, you should be mindful of how it affects your pet’s health. The American Veterinary Medical Association recommends providing more attention to your pet and the places your pet frequents. Here are eight ways cold weather affects your pet’s health and well-being.


1. Your Pet Can Get Lost Right Away

Pets depend on their sense of smell. They can find their way home by detecting familiar smells, much like landmarks. Winter reduces the intensity of these odors. Any markings your pet makes will disappear right away because of the snow. The scents will not travel well because of the dry, cold air. Make sure you keep them on leashes or harnesses when you go for a walk.


2. Your Pet May Not Take the Cold Well

Some dogs have double coats of thick fur. This trait protects them from the cold. If your pet does not have a fluffy coat, cold weather will not agree with them. Put on an insulated sweater or jacket on them. This will act as an extra layer of fur. Make your walks or outdoor playtime short to prevent overexposing them to the cold.


3. Your Pet May Slip

Icy sidewalks and loose snow can increase your pet’s risk of slipping and suffering from a bad fall. This is dangerous for older pets with limited mobility or stiff joints. Insulated booties with rubber bottoms can protect paws from damage and add more traction. They can help your pet stay stable on slippery surfaces.


4. Cold Weather Can Irritate Your Pet’s Skin

Winter brings indoor heating and low humidity. Your pet’s skin could dry up. This often results in sensitivity and flakiness. Your veterinarian may recommend omega-3 fatty acid supplements. These fatty acids can help improve your pet’s coat during the cold months.


5. Your Pet May Get Wet More

Snow can stick to your pet’s fur and paws. It can stay there until it melts. The melted snow can soak into your pet’s skin. The wetness, coldness, and wind can result in frostbite. You can keep your walks and outdoor playtime short. Dry your pet right away when you get home. Use a thick towel and a hair dryer to do this.


6. Pain Can Worsen

Your pet’s joint pain can worsen during the cold months. Pets with this condition may prefer to stay in bed most of the day. Pets with metal implants can feel the pain more. A heating pad can help reduce pain.


7. Your Pet May Find Antifreeze an Attractive Food Source

The cold months trigger the urge to eat more for more heat-providing calories. If your pet wanders into the garage and finds antifreeze, you could be looking at an emergency trip to Animal Emergency Hospital. Antifreeze tastes and smells sweet. Licking a small amount of antifreeze can result in a life-threatening situation. Make sure you seal your cleaning and car chemicals and lock them in a sturdy cabinet in your garage.


8. Your Pet May Seek Warmth in Dangerous Places

Some pets may wander into the basement or garage to find a heat source. Engines, boilers, and heaters give off warmth. This can be dangerous for your pets if you do not keep an eye on them or check these warm places. They could get hurt if you do not remove them from these heat sources.

Extra care can keep your pets safe and healthy during the cold months. At Animal Emergency Hospital, we do our best to help pet parents provide the best care during challenging seasons, such as winter. Please visit our clinic in Euless, Texas, for an in-person consultation. Call us at 817-571-2088 to set an appointment or inquire about our winter pet care services.