Care for Pets During the Winter Months
● By Brandi Barnett
Baby, It's Cold OutsideJanuary 2007
By Marty Sternberg
Winterizing your pets means more than throwing an extra blanket into the yard. While some animals have the extra fur and fat lining to make staying bearable, most domesticated pets do not. Cold weather and storms can take a toll on their lives and even shorten them. So to protect those who love us unconditionally, think ahead.
All dogs and cats should be on preventable medication for heartworms, as well as for fleas and ticks. “This medication should be taken every month, not just during the summer,” said Veterinarian Randy Presleigh.
“Older dogs and cats can also benefit from taking arthritis medicines like NASIDS,” Presleigh said. “But these ‘non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs,’ like Rimadyl, need to be prescribed by your vet.” Some pets can benefit from taking aspirin for those aches and pains but you should never give them Tylenol, Advil or other human drugs, he said. Pets can have bad reactions to these painkillers so check with your family vet before starting any drug regime.
Additives like glucosamine chondroitin, a joint supplement, can be given as well, said Presleigh.While some pet foods have supplements added, it is best to give it in pill form, he said, to insure the dosage.
Keeping pets warm and dry in the winter can go a long way towards keeping them happy and healthy. If your pet sleeps outside be sure they have a place to get out of the weather. A doghouse or cathouse filled with clean dry hay as well as fresh food and water will make a difference. And if the temperatures will be freezing during the night, it is always best to bring pets inside, said Presleigh.
“We keep our older outside cats in the bathroom with a cat box when the weather is really cold,” he said, “And this works for dogs, too, or you can keep them in a crate.”