How to protect pets during winter
People tend to keep their pets inside for warmth when the mercury drops, but there could be better options, says veterinarian.india Updated: Dec 28, 2007 12:37 IST
When the mercury drops, people tend to bring their pets inside for warmth, but keeping the dog with heavy coats in a slightly cooler room or the garage is a better idea, says a veterinarian.
Giving pet care tips on seasonal health issues, particularly winters, Dr Susan Nelson, clinical assistant professor at Kansas State University's College of Veterinary Medicine, stated that some pets tend to get nervous and panicky while staying inside the house, so keeping them in a carrier or crate might help in easing the transition. <b1>
Though we feel that pets are safe inside the house, they are actually at risk once exposed to inside environment, Dr. Nelson said.
"Lilies, dieffenbachia and philodendron are just a few of the indoor plants that can be toxic to pets. Take inventory of what plants you have and find out if they are poisonous before bringing pets inside," she said.
Some common items found inside the home can also be harmful to our furry friends.
"Some human foods, such as chocolate, raisins and onions, can be dangerous to pets. Pets also may chew on electrical cords. In addition, candles and potpourri can be hazardous, so keep pets supervised while in the house and take appropriate precautions," she said.
Dr. Nelson said it is necessary to keep in mind that the outside pet shelters are not too big so that loss of insulation and heat can be prevented.
"The door should face the south or west to reduce wind gusts. Use clean straw or hay for bedding as blankets tend to get trampled easily and then lose their insulating effect,” she said.
The water bowls kept outside for the pets should be checked at least twice a day for ice or a heated water bowl should be used, she warned.
Outside-dwelling pets can also benefit from an increase in calories through a higher fat food that will help them to maintain their body heat. For dogs with short hair, sweaters made of cotton, fleece or natural fibers would be comfortable, Dr. Nelson explained.
The age of pets also play an important role in deciding what kind of care has to be given to them.
"Young and old pets are more prone to hypothermia, so they should be given extra attention. Arthritic pets should be treated with extra care as well. Keep them indoors in a warm and well-cushioned area. Talk to your veterinarian about pain medications and possible diet changes to that may help with this problem," she said.