Doc sez "BRRR"!!!
Soon, not yet, but soon (in a half hour! LOL), the weather is going to change to very cold, maybe windy, and maybe wet. Just like you winterize your yard, home and vehicle, it’s good to winterize your pets, whether they be dog, cat or horse and plan for the winter season.
Shelter – Provide good shelter for your outdoor pets. If necessary, you can put tarps or bales around the outside of the shelter to help break the wind and insulate. Make sure it is dry, even in rain and snow.
Nutrition – If your animal is heading into winter looking thin and tired, look at your feed to make certain that there is an adequate level of energy and calories. When it is cold, your outdoor pet needs more and better quality food to maintain body condition. Feed a product appropriate for the age and type of animal. Puppy food to puppies; senior food to older animals. Check dental condition to make sure that your animal can actually eat the food that you provide. Have a fecal exam done and worm your animal before the weather gets cold to improve feed efficiency. Make certain that water sources are available, warmed and not going to freeze as the weather get colder. In cold weather check the feed and water several times a day.
Hazards - Winter brings new hazards to our animals. Antifreeze spills (toxic) may be lying around. We increase the use of mouse and rat bait (tastes good and is poisonous). We salt icy walks which causes drying and cracking of foot pads. Holidays increase the chance of ingestion of problem materials, including poultry bones (causing impaction and internal punctures); chocolate ( causing digestive upset, diarrhea, vomiting and possible death); and fatty gravies and sauces ( causing pancreatitis). No wonder one of the first diagnosis’ we look for is “holiday disease”, also known as “garbage gut”, during the holiday season.
With pets indoors and holidays coming, look for ways to reduce stress for your pets. Give them a quiet place to retreat when you have company. Continue to exercise with your pet; don’t either of you hibernate. Play with your indoor pets and maybe get a few new toys for metal stimulation. Cabin fever is not pretty in animals or people.
Winterize your pets and prepare for the change of seasons. “Winter is coming.”