Winter seems to have finally struck Ohio - with force! Pets need extra care when it's extra cold. Here are a few tips.
First: cats. If you have an outdoor cat, who is used to the weather, and was outside even as it became colder, we recommend some extra care. Please make sure they always have a source of clean, high-quality NOT frozen food and water. Make sure they have a shelter, facing away from the wind, that has deep, clean bedding that is changed at least a few times weekly, preferably every day or two. Please continue Heartworm, Flea and Tick preventative. They are still on ALL the wildlife outside - even when its below freezing. Offering an area with a caged heat lamp is an excellent idea, though they do need to have enough room to move away from it if they get too hot.
For indoor/outdoor cats we need to make sure the above applies, but also that if they want to get inside they can do so at any time. If they opt to stay in all winter putting them back out suddenly is a bad idea. Best to wait until spring when even evening temps are above freezing before re-starting that schedule.
For dogs, even dogs that love to be outside or that work or hunt, making certain they are active, bright, alert while out. Checking their ears and feet for extreme cold and snow-packing between paw pads is important. Dog coats and booties are available at pet stores. Make sure if they are out for awhile they have access to warm, not hot, water and that they are checked thoroughly when they come inside. We recommend Heartworm, Flea and Tick preventative year-round in dogs as well. A flea infestation can happen almost any time, particularly in a rural area with lots of wildlife.
For any mostly indoor dog it is a decent rule of thumb that if you think its cold in your snow gear they probably think so too and can only comfortably tolerate being outside about as long as you can, assuming you are active and well-hydrated and fed.
Stay warm this winter, and as always, please call us to schedule an appointment any time if you have any questions or concerns about your four-legged friends!