How to Protect Pets in Freezing Weather

4

Humans aren't the only ones feeling the drop in temps during this particularly cold season. When out driving during zero-degree weather, I noticed a bundled-up person trying to drag their dog through deep snow. It didn't matter that this was a big Labrador Retriever. He was obviously struggling in the frigid temps, holding up his paws and wanting to be carried.

Normally I'm pretty easy going about things, but in this case, I was angry. How can one expect a short-haired dog to be comfortable in sub-zero temperatures?

But aren't boots and coats for pets "unnatural"?

I've noticed comments on some of the videos of dogs wearing boots that it's "unnatural" and degrading to put footwear on them. Yes, we may find ourselves laughing at their antics as they try to adjust to wearing foot protection, but the benefits outweigh the indignity, and many pets actually prefer using them once they learn of the added comfort dog boots and coats provide. 

Paws do have some natural protection from the elements, but they are not impervious, especially when there is a covering of snow or ice on the ground. Ice can cut even the toughest hunting dogs' pads, and snow build-up between pads can cause frostbite. This makes paws sore enough, but if the dog walks in an area where there is salt or chemical deicer, this is a recipe for causing severe pain.

After going outside, make sure you check for ice build-up and do a paw wipe down. That will also keep your pet from cleaning their paws by licking them and ingesting any salt or ice-melt chemicals. Consider some of our dog boots to give your dogs protection from freezing temperatures. Not only will it extend their tolerance for the outdoors, it could also save your flooring from mud and puddles (of both the snowy kind and the "there's no way I'm peeing outside in the cold" kind.) 

Cats and dogs both need care

Cold weather creates all sorts of hazards for pets. Cats and dogs do have some built-in protection with their fur coats, but paws and ears are especially susceptible to frostbite. Cats’ ears are delicately thin with very little hair, so they become quite vulnerable to freezing temperatures. Keep cats indoors and provide shelter for outdoor cats in your neighborhood. 

Even large, double-coated dogs that like the outdoors need to get out of the snow, especially on cold days when there is a wind chill. If they don't, their extremities can freeze. Blood flowing through the vessels provides heat to tissues, but when the wind chill is sub-zero the blood flow constricts to protect the heart and vital organs. Unfortunately, with less blood supply the paw and leg tissues can become very cold and even freeze resulting in amputation.

The best way to avoid winter problems is to monitor your dogs’ outside activities, keep them in a coat, and keep your cat inside.

Photo of Jasper from Canada, submitted by Jen.  

This entry was posted by Mary.
Cindy on December 15 at 6:40 PM said:

Thank-You Mary! My Big Black Lab Bubba lives in Minnesota so he has 2 coats, 1 pair of boots, a scarf, looking for a hat lol. I LOVE MY BUBBA! :) :)
Brad on December 16 at 12:08 PM said:

Aww my boy! He loves to play in the snow :)
Mary on December 16 at 1:25 PM said:

We do love Jasper!
Monica S. on January 18 at 12:51 AM said:

I think pets enjoy being warm as much as we do. At first my little Baby did not fancy the hassle of putting on a coat, but now she brings it to me when she wants to go out. I think she even has her girlie days and prefers one over the other on certain days. (She has three.) Am currently looking for her some boots and a hat. And I know she definitely needs a rain coat, because she sticks her nose out and refuses to go out and get wet until she is about to burst a bladder. Now just dressing them up to look cute, that seems quite unnatural and I am not buying her pretty little outfits. I have grandchildren for that.
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