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Protect Pets From Cold

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This is the time of year, when we all tend to get cabin fever. It's too cold to be outside as much as we might want to, and in fact, if you are outside, without the proper outdoor wear, you are running the risk of frost bite and hypothermia. Many of us also have pets that are whining at the doorways, but one area veterinarian tells us, they are also susceptible to the bitter cold.

Colchester veterinarian Dr. Andrew Fitzgerald tells us it's important to limit our pets time outdoors when the temperatures drop.

"Especially when the temperatures drop below zero, it's a bad time for pets. You have to remember that our pets are domesticated animals, and everyone thinks that dogs are very stoic and tough, but that is not necessarily true. I think you have to use a common sense approach. If you are outside without gloves or a hat, and you're uncomfortable, your pet without a coat or booties, is going to be uncomfortable too. The key is, when it's bitter cold outside, limit the amount of time your dog is outside. They really should be going out to go to the bathroom, and then come right back in. Exercise, long walks and hiking is probably not recommended this time of year."

Dr Fitzgerald reminds us that some breeds are especially susceptible. Small dogs and especially short haired small dogs like chihuahuas, and even bigger short haired dogs like Greyhounds are especially susceptible to the cold.  

Give regular baths through the winter months, and brush daily to keep the coat fluffy to provide the best insulation.

And protect those paws. When your pets pick up their paws in the cold, that means it hurts! Use booties, or you can put a coating of vaseline or cooking spray on them to give them a little protection. Be sure to rinse off any of those roadside and sidewalk chemicals from their paws.

When it comes to frostbite, ears, tails and paws are the most susceptible, especially for cats. Frostbitten skin will look white or grey in appearance, and you should immediately apply warm, moist towels and call your veterinarian. And remember, once an area has been frost bitten, that skin will be more prone to frost bite in the future so you have to be even more careful.

And antifreeze is deadly poisonous to your pets. It is also appealing and tasty to pets, so if you think your pet has ingested ANY antifreeze, call your vet immediately, there are things they can do to prevent permanent kidney damage.

All important things to remember, as we look ahead to another cold spell.



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