Winter temperatures can affect your pet. With temperatures beginning to fall, many of us pet owners begin to wonder how this will affect our pets? While single-digit temperatures may seem too cold for your pets, it is important to continue to exercise your pets even when colder temperatures ensue.
But just like people, pet’s tolerance to the cold differs based on the type of pet, their coat, and health. The AVMA states that long-haired or thick coated pets are usually more prone to the colder weather but are still at risk. Short haired pets feel the cold more quickly because they have less protection, and short legged pets may become colder faster because their bellies and bodies are closer to the freezing snow and grass.
Check your pet’s paws frequently for signs of cold-weather injury, this may include cracked paws or bleeding. You may be able to reduce the chance of ice build-up by clipping the hair between your pets toes. It is also important to wipe your pets feet, legs and bellies down after walks in the winter because pets may pick up chemicals (i.e. deicers, antifreeze) that could be toxic when the pets start licking their paws.
Yes, pets can get frostbite. It is very important that you monitor the temperature during the winter months to determine if your pet is at risk before it is let outside. Any temperature below freezing (32 degrees Fahrenheit) has the potential to cause frostbite, but generally, temperatures have to be lower for serious problems. A low temperature combined with being wet from rain, snow, or swimming can also lead to a higher risk for frostbite.