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When the thermometer dips as low as it has here in the Texas panhandle, have you made sure that your pets are prepared for the cold temps too? We often talk about the dangers of summer heat, but the bitter cold of winter is just as dangerous to our furry friends. While it might be common sense, here are some tips from the American Veterinary Medical Association to make sure your pet is taken care of during Texas cold snaps:

  • Do not leave them outside. This should be a no brainer, but no pet should be left outdoors for a period of time during extremely cold temperatures, even if the animal is built for the weather. Cats and dogs can get frostbite and hypothermia just like you and me.
  • Speaking of frostbite, check your dogs paws. Look for cracked paw pads or bleeding. Ice can also build up between their toes and and on their fur.
  • Just like you and I, a pet's tolerance for winter weather can vary based on the animal. You need to know what your pet can handle and make plans to keep them comfortable. Different coats, amounts of body fat, energy levels, and overall health can set one pet apart from another.
  • Vet visits are important to not only the overall health of your pet, but also how they will handle certain seasons of the year. For instance, if your pet has arthritis, the bitter cold could really make it hard on them.
  • No matter if you pet is outside doing their business or lounging around the house, give them choices. Maybe their bed is near a drafty window, think about moving it someone more comfortable. If they go outside, provide a place they can rest out of the elements.
  • Keep them in sight if you have to let them out. During winter, the snow and ice can cover recognizable scents and may make it difficult for them to find their way back home. Also make sure they have a collar with identification and are chipped.
  • Give them a wipe down when you bring them back in. If you are out for a walk around sidewalks or roads, it is possible to bring some of the ice melting chemicals back with them. Wipe down paws as well as low hanging fur.

Remember, your pet loves a cozy warm home just as much as you do. If you see a pet that is in need of help outdoors, you can always contact your local Animal Control Officer. Let's do our part to keep everyone warm and healthy this winter.