• Keep your pets inside when temperatures drop below conditions you are comfortable with. Rule of thumb is if it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for your pets.
• Schedule a check-up for your pets before winter arrives, as certain medical problems can negatively affect how your pet handles the cold. Heart disease, diabetes and hormonal imbalances are examples of conditions that can prevent your pets from having proper control of their body heat. Age also affects how your animals handle the weather.
• Keep an eye on your cat. Cats are prone to find nearly anyplace they can to stay warm, even car engines. Therefore, always check your car before turning the ignition. Beyond car engines, always watch for pets around any electrically heated area or fire, as any pet can succumb to burns or even cause hazards for the entire household.
• Always check your pet’s paws after venturing outside, as they can gather salt, ice and chemical ice that could not only chap and damage their paws, but damage their insides if they lick their paws.
• Put a sweater on Fido - if he is willing. Although pets tend to lose body heat from their feet pads, ears and respiratory tract, anything helps.
It is true that no two pets are alike, and that not all pets will respond the same to extreme weather conditions.
According to Jarrett, the biggest factors to keep in mind are breed, size, age and medical conditions. If you have a small, old, arthritic Chihuahua, always exercise caution when letting him go outside in the cold. If you have a massive Husky in the prime of her life, you will not have to worry when she runs around in the snow like it’s Christmas. Nevertheless, always use good judgment and contact a professional when you have any concerns regarding the safety and health of your animals.