Do you live in a cold climate? If so, you might be wondering about cold weather and pets. Specifically, how cold is too cold for your pets to be outside?
Rather than relying on vague pet tips and catchphrases like “if you’re cold, they’re cold” to decide when it’s time to bring your fur babies inside, you should stick to the facts. After all, this is an essential part of pet care, especially for cats and dogs that spend time outdoors. And, missing out on this vital pet advice could cause unintended harm to your favorite family members!
Keep reading to learn about when household pets should come in from the cold. We’ve also included some important winter tips for pet care, to make sure your whole family enjoys this magical season together.
Cold Weather and Pets: How Cold Is Too Cold?
When it comes to cold weather and pets, it’s pretty simple: If you feel cold outside, your pets do, too. But, you’re likely wearing a thick coat and boots – and they aren’t!
Don’t allow yourself to slip into unsafe patterns or drop the ball on winter pet care. Instead, bring outdoor animals inside any time temperatures drop to 32°F. When the mercury dips this low, water freezes, and animals are at risk for hypothermia.
This is especially true for elderly pets and animals with health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, or kidney disease.
Offering your pet an insulated outdoor shelter may be enough in mild winter climates. But, if you’re dealing with freezing temperatures, it’s always best to bring your animal indoors, only allowing them outside to relieve themselves and exercise for short periods.
Tips for Dealing With Hypothermia
If you think that your pet has become too cold, bring them indoors immediately and check for symptoms of hypothermia. These include excessive shivering, lethargy, pale gums, and an internal body temperature below 90°F.
Pets whose core temperatures have become too low are at risk for unconsciousness, coma, and even death. Use hot water bottles and warm blankets to heat them up, and contact your vet immediately.
Different Treatment for Cats and Dogs
Cats are more agile and adaptable than dogs, allowing them to take shelter more easily during freezing temperatures. But, this can get them into trouble! Each winter, countless felines are injured and killed, hiding in warm yet unsafe places like car engines.
Dogs are at risk for frostbite, especially around their paws. This condition can permanently damage tissue and even lead to death if untreated, so owners should take it seriously – especially in smaller breeds. Putting booties on your pet or coating its paws in petroleum jelly can help prevent this condition during short outdoor sessions in freezing temperatures.
More Winter Tips for Pet Care
If your animal simply must spend time outdoors, consider offering them a pet door so they can come and go throughout the day or night. You might also consider dressing them in an extra winter layer, like a sweater or coat.
Because your pet will burn more calories in a cold climate, you might also want to offer additional food. This can help them generate enough body heat to stay comfortable and avoid unnecessary winter weight loss.
Keep in mind, an entirely different set of advice applies for keeping your pets safe during extreme summer heat. So, before adding a furry friend to the family, you should read up on seasonal tips for both climates.
Excellent Care for Your Household Pets
With these winter tips for pet care as your guide, you’re ready to keep your family’s cats and dogs safe and happy all season long. This is also a great time of year to bring those household pets in for a vet check. The right local clinic can answer your questions, offer pet advice, and help you with South Carolina specific pet tips.
Has your family recently lost one of its furry friends? Contact Midlands Pet Care or call (803) 356 1610 for heartfelt care during this difficult time. We are a family operated business with 23 years of experience serving the Midlands and surrounding areas, and we take great pride in serving our families with pride, dignity and compassion.
Image courtesy of CSG Dog Snow Gear.