Cold Intolerance in Our Pets!

The recent stories of subzero temperatures hitting across our nation serves as a good reminder about how our pets tolerate the freezing weather. Even our furry friends feel the cold!

Today’s pets are not the weather adapting, hardy, animals their “wild” descendants once were. They may have a fur coat… but they are also domesticated and acclimatized to our indoor way of life.

Here in the Comox Valley, we are fortunate that we do not get as cold as our friends in Northern Ontario… but it’s all relative to where we live, and cold is cold! Our pet’s tolerance to the weather can vary pet to pet depending on breed, age, physical condition and coat. It is important to know their limits! Your pet feels the chill too, and their little toes can also suffer from frostbite. Check your pet’s paws often for signs of cracked or bleeding pads, which can be quite painful.

As your pet’s age, they become more susceptible to extremes in temperature. They “feel” the cold more so than a younger pet and medical conditions such as arthritis can worsen during the colder months of the year.

How can you help?

  1. Shorten your walks. Less exposure time on the cold pavement will save their feet!
  2. Buy a waterproof or insulated jacket for your pet and keep them well groomed. Winter grooming is important as matted fur is unable to hold in the heat or keep out the damp and cold.
  3. Outside pets will need extra shelter to get out of the cold, wet conditions. Preferably up off the soggy ground.
  4. Think about bringing your dog’s “outdoor house” into the garage or carport on those cold evenings. Place a warm, soft bed in their dog house or kennel to help keep their joints warm.
  5. Consider offering a litter box to your indoor/outdoor kitty. Some owners notice their cat inappropriately urinating in the house this time of year. This may not be due to a urinary infection or bad behaviour, but simply because they are just too cold to go outside.

The key thing to remember is if you’re cold…. your pet is most likely cold too!

Submitted by Van Isle Veterinary Hospital.