Pets Are Vulnerable During Freezing Weather

Jan 20, 2016

Freezing weather can exacerbate medical conditions for pets, and ice-melt product spills can also be toxic to pets who go outside.
Credit Poligraf Poligrafovich / Wikipedia

Temperatures are holding steady at freezing and below. So animal advocates and veterinary professionals are urging owners not to leave pets outside if they can avoid it.

Triangle Veterinary Referral Hospital spokeswoman Sharon Ziegler says cold weather exacerbates health issues for animals.

"If you can, all pets should be kept inside, especially at night when these temperatures are getting down into the teens and single digits," says Ziegler. "If your pet must be outside then they absolutely need a warm, dry place to sleep at night."

Ziegler says fur should be de-matted but not shaven so the animal is better able to keep warm. And she adds that animals burn more calories trying to keep warm, so they should be given more food when temperatures drop.

Moreover, humans are often using antifreeze and ice melt chemicals, which can spill on driveways and sidewalks.

"Most ice melt products are mildly toxic if they're ingested, but they can cause irritation and even chemical burns on the feet. So, when people are walking their pet, they should bring them in, rinse their feet off, and then dry them thoroughly."

Ziedler says petroleum jelly can help protect paw pads.