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Posted on 02-06-2017

Our Edmonton Veterinary Team Wants All Pet Owners To Know About Cold Dangers for Their Animal Companions

Cold Dangers all pet owners should know

Brrr. Everyone knows just how cold Alberta can get in the wintertime. Our Edmonton veterinary staff recommends that every pet owner pay a little extra attention to their pets during this time of year to ensure that the cold weather doesn't negatively affect their animal's health, comfort, and safety.

Yes--Cold Winter Weather Can Affect Your Pet. Here's How

You know how you feel a little stiffer, a little slower moving, and maybe even a little more achy during the cold winter months? Believe it or not, your pets may be feeling the same way! Cold, dry, winter weather can affect your animal in a variety of ways:

  • Cold dry air can restrict blood flow, which may contribute to muscle stiffness and joint pain. 
  • Normal changes in atmospheric pressure can cause fluid within joints to expand, which can increase joint pain and stiffness, especially in pets with arthritis.
  • Cold weather can dry out your pet's skin and increase it's risk of dehydration. Animals also have to burn more calories to keep their body temperature at a safe level.
  • Certain animals (especially older ones or ones with health problems) often have less body fat and are less able to keep themselves warm. This can increase their risk of hypothermia (signs include weakness, shivering, and change in mental status).

The wintertime also comes with other hazards that you need to be aware of, including salt, sand, and de-icing chemicals used on streets and sidewalks. These substances can get stuck in your pet's paws and can be harmful to your animal if ingested.

Simple Strategies To Protect Your Pet From Cold Dangers

  • The general rule of thumb is that if you're cold, assume your pet is, too. If it's below 0 °C, you should limit the amount of time your pet is outside. 
  • Always have a comfy spot indoors for your pet to rest, and keep your home comfortably warm. 
  • Ensure that your pet always has access to fresh clean water. 
  • Ask your vet about if and how you should change the amount of food your animal eats during the winter months, to ensure that it's getting enough calories.
  • If you have a smaller, older, or particularly lean dog, consider investing in some vet-approved animal clothing to help keep your pet warm.
  • Keep a towel or pet-safe wipes near the main entrance of your house so you can wipe off your pet's paws when it comes inside. 

Brr, It's Cold Out--Is Your Pet Comfortable, Warm, And Safe? Get Tips And More From Our Edmonton Veterinarian Staff

At Edmonton South Animal Hospital, our veterinary staff is raising awareness this season about cold dangers for your pets at home. If you're a pet owner, please remember to keep your animal companion safe from the cold. If you believe that your pet may be experiencing a cold weather-related emergency, call us right away at (587) 409-5855. You can also call us to request an appointment or to learn more about our comprehensive and cost-effective veterinary services. Led by Dr. Ignacio Tan, our team is proud to be one of Edmonton's finest veterinary clinics, with a high standard of care and accreditation by the prestigious AAHA.

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