Record cold temps are swiftly approaching many states. In Indianapolis the national weather service has estimated a total of 8-12 inches of snow with wind gust up to 40 MPH. With that prediction the national weather service has issued a windchill warning. In Indianapolis, Indiana the wind chill is predicted to be 25-45 below. With all winter weather especially with these extremely cold temperatures it’s very important to keep your pets warm and safe. Ideally animals should be brought in from the cold, even if they are typically outdoor animals. Pets can get hypothermia just like people. A good rule of thumb is if it’s too cold for you to stay outside it’s too cold for your pet. Pets need a warm, wind proof and waterproof areas with dry blankets or bedding. Make sure your pets have plenty of fresh water. Winter can pose a problem of dehydration. Pets should be supplied with fresh water. Even in weather where there is lots of snow like we are experiencing, dehydration can be an issue. Snow is not a water source. Water can freeze making it an unavailable water source. It is important to check indoor and outdoor pets water to make sure it’s fresh and easily available. Freezing is also a factor for bedding. If your pet, dog or cat sleeps with a blanket or quilt it needs to be checked and changed often. Blankets that get wet can freeze. Wet blankets create a cold environment for the pet and will not keep them warm and will add to an already cold environment. Hay or straw is a good alternative if you’re not going to use a blanket. However they can still get wet. Wet hay or straw can harbor mold. Whatever type of bed your pet will be using its important to check the bedding often to ensure dry bedding. Cold temperatures and snow also mean it’s important to check you pets paws and pads. Wet moist weather can cause dry pads. Dry pads can crack and split. Not only is this painful it can be a breeding ground for bacteria and infection. De-icers pose a problem with the cold. It’s best to keep your furry friends away from de-Icers. Some de-icers can be poisonous while others can irritate your pets paws and pads like salt based de-icers. Check your pets paws after being outside. Rinse or wipe them off to get any chemicals or debris off their pads to ensure your pets safety and comfort.
Proper shelter is a must for an outdoor pet. Make sure your pets shelter is not facing the direction of the wind. Cover the entrance in a way that will keep wind from blowing in but will prevent your pet from getting trapped.
Keep their bedding from becoming wet. Wet bedding adds to already cold temperatures.
Provide plenty of fresh water for your pet. Making sure your pets water does not freeze. It’s a good idea to stay clear of metal bowls that pose a freezing issue. Metal dishes can stick to your pets tongue.
Check your pet’s pads. De-icers, and winter chemicals such as antifreeze can be poisonous to your pet and at the very least cause irritation to their paws and pads. Keeping pads clean helps to avoid cracking and cuts.
Ideally it’s best to keep animals inside limiting their outdoor exposure to potty breaks and necessary exercise. The extreme cold temperatures won’t last long. Being prepared and taking precautions can prevent injury, poisoning, hypothermia and at the very least keep your pets comfortable.
Please keep an eye out for pets exposed to the winter elements. Winter can be very dangerous and life threatening for outdoor dogs and cats. If you see a dog or cat exposed to winter elements please take action and contact your local shelters for help. While some shelters are closed due to hazardous weather conditions their websites and Facebook pages can offer information and help.
Keep warm , stay safe, enjoy the beauty of the snow, and most of all enjoy your family time.