Just when I was thinking the coldest temps have come and gone, I learned yesterday that some of the coldest temps of the season are hitting Montana the first week of February.
Here's a couple of tips that will help prepare your dogs (and cats) for the cold.
Bring Outside Pets In. If you absolutely can't find an indoor alternative, at the very least you should provide an enclosed shelter containing plenty of clean, dry bedding. And, if possible, a SAFE heating device, such as a heating pad, would be nice too. (Caution: Electric heaters may not be safe and could cause a fire so be sure you think first before you provide the heat source.)
Be on Arthritis Alert. Arthritis is even more problematic for pets in cold temperatures. If your best buddy appears stiff first thing in the morning, has trouble jumping, or navigating stairs, contact your vet and get help for the discomfort and pain.
Check your Vehicle's Engine. Cats like to cuddle up against your car's engine to keep warm. Before you start your car, lift the hood and check to see if there is an uninvited guest. This simple precaution can protect your cat from a serious injury. You can also pound loudly on the hood too, but if you know cats, they might just feel too comfy and will ignore the sound.
Think about Clothing. For instance, many dogs, especially smaller breeds, are more comfortable wearing extra layers in freezing conditions. (We live on a ranch and we even protect some of our vulnerable livestock with extra protection. When the wind chill drops to life threatening levels, we provide not only shelter but protection for some of our vulnerable livestock by securing a blanket around the animal with a bungie cord/s.)
Inspect Paws. You might not think about it but paws are exposed to salt (or other de-icers) on sidewalks and streets. Salts and de-icers can adhere to the fuzzy fur between the toes. It can create irritation and sores. Rinse off residue if needed.
Pay Attention to Antifreeze. Did you know that just a few licks of this stuff can cause death? It's sweet tasting and attractive to pets especially dogs. Remember all they need to do is walk in it and then lick it off their feet. Check under your car for leaks and make sure that your container is stored in a safe place.
Keep Water Bowls from Freezing and Icing Over. And, the best way to do that is to purchase a heated water bowl. We use a heated bucket that we purchased from our ranch supply store. If that doesn't work, pet supply stores also sell heated water dishes.
Protect your Pets around Lakes, Ponds, Creeks, etc. This is self-explanatory. Not only is falling through ice life-threatening for pets but it also dangerous for people involved in the rescue.