Adjusting for winter can be difficult if you’re in a routine with your pet, and it’s also a challenge for new pet owners who are just getting to grips with having an animal in their home. What changes can your clients make to protect their pets from winter weather and everything that goes with it?
Is the Pet at Risk?
Obviously, less fur means less protection from the cold. However, even animals with thick coats have trouble regulating their body temperatures in freezing winter weather. There are also many easy-to-overlook factors that can limit how well an animal deals with cold weather:
- A lack of body fat and metabolic issues make young and old pets more susceptible to cold.
- Pets with short legs have more contact with snow. Water and ice are more effective at transferring heat than air, which means these animals get cold faster when there’s accumulation on the ground.
- Wet fur doesn’t trap air, so it isn’t an effective thermal barrier.
- Many chronic diseases limit cold resistance, including diabetes and kidney issues.
When should Clients Seek Your Services for Cold-related Issues?
The sooner the animal receives care, the better. Owners need to know that there are more symptoms of hypothermia than just shivering. Sudden anxiousness, slow movements and whining are clear signs that the animal is too cold. Likewise, they should be proactive when it comes to frostbite. It can be days before tissue damage is visible. Now is a good time to send a reminder to your clients on what to look for and when they should contact you.
Making a Warm Place for Outdoor Animals
Dog houses and other shelters need to be warm, dry, and able to block wind. Structures should be checked over each year, so that holes and gaps can be found and sealed.
Like fur, fabrics lose their insulation properties when wet. If bedding isn’t clean and dry, it needs to be replaced. There are heated blankets and pads available that are designed for safe outdoor use. Owners should never use electric blankets designed for beds, as these are easy to damage, creating an electrical hazard.
Water is important for the health of cats and dogs, especially when they’re exposed to cold, dry air. A heated water dish can keep them supplied, even in extreme temperatures
Increasing Safety for Walks and Outdoor Activities
Clothing is effective at keeping animals warm, but it should only be used when the owner is around. Strangulation is a risk if the animal gets caught on something. Booties are effective at protecting paws from frostbite that can be caused by direct contact with the cold ground. Shoveling out an area for play and potty breaks reduces direct contact with snow and ice, reducing the need for clothing.
Chemicals are also a major issue in winter. Even pet-safe ice melt can cause digestive problems if eaten, and they may cause chemical burns from repeated exposure. Coolant leaks are more frequent in cold weather, increasing the chance that the animal will drink antifreeze. While these hazards can’t be avoided completely, a quick bath or rinse can remove most of these chemicals from fur before they end up in the pet’s mouth.
Keep Your Patients’ Health Care on Track
Your clinic should be the first source for your clients when they need medical advice and treatment for their pets. Positive Impressions, LLC can help with our line of promotional goods. We have reminder cards, birthday cards, tote bags, magnetic business cards and more that can be custom printed. This lets you add your clinic’s address and your choice of graphics, giving clients easy access to your practice’s contact information. Not sure where to start? Visit our website to see the products we offer, or see our latest specials on Facebook.