Winter is here in Ashtabula County and it is important to ensure your pets are properly cared for during colder weather. We humans can always put on a sweater or a heavier coat to deal with the low temperatures, but our animals aren’t quite so lucky.
Not all breeds are created equal when it comes to handling the cold. A Siberian Husky can handle cold temperatures, snow, and heavy winds far better than a Labrador Retriever. Also be aware of your dog’s age; very young or old animals may have age-related issues that affect their cold weather tolerance.
Consider taking shorter, but more frequent, walks with your dogs. This reduces their overall exposure to the cold and limits the risk of their body temperature dropping to a dangerous level.
A sweater can be a useful (and stylish) tool as well, particularly for smaller dogs that have a smaller body. Smaller and underweight animals will have a harder time staying warm and a sweater or jacket can be just the thing to help keep them comfortable.
If you must keep your animal outside during the Winter, ensure that it has access to adequate shelter. A shelter should be dry, have ample room for comfortable movement, have a bed that is off of the ground, and provide protection from the wind. Don’t forget that your dog should always have access to fresh water. Use a plastic bowl! Your dog’s tongue can freeze to a metal bowl.
Hypothermia occurs when the body’s temperature falls below normal levels. Signs of hypothermia include shivering, confusion, and physical weakness and severe cases will ultimately result in death. If your pet is showing these symptoms, move it to a safe, warm location and contact a veterinarian as soon as possible.