Keeping pets healthy in frigid temps

Keeping pets healthy in frigid temps

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - There are some things pet owners should be doing to keep their furry friends safe, especially during the cold temperatures. Pets are no different than humans when it comes down to wanting to stay warm.

Veterinarians say in frigid temps, our four legged friends only need to be outside for a short period of time.

"Their feet will actually freeze to the snow in extreme temperatures, which can be very painful. If it gets too cold, they can damage their feet pads," said Dr. Anne Bergstrom, a veterinarian with the West Toledo Animal Hospital.

If an animal is used to being outdoors, make sure they have warm shelter such as a heated garage. Always check to make sure their water source is not freezing.

"We do get the occasional animal that suffers from hypothermia because they get too cold outside and every once in a while we will get the frostbite in cases where their ears are damaged. Their face gets frostbite pretty easily," said Bergstrom.

But how do you know when your pet may be feeling the effects of the cold? Bergstrom said look for signs of extreme tiredness. Watch for any discomfort, and check those tips of the ears.

If they're extremely cold, that could indicate some danger.

"If they're not walking on their feet, if they're holding their feet up, they may have damaged their feet pads with the ice and snow," said Bergstrom.

Since not every pet loves the snow, veterinarians recommend you shovel a path to make it easier for them to go outside. Keeping them on a leash to keep them out of the deep snow is also a good idea. Also, be on the lookout for cats that may climb into car engines looking for warmth.

"They'll stay in there and you start your car and a cat's in the engine and it's probably not going to turn out very well for the cat," said Bergstrom.

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