A Newsletter and Resource Guide

Winter & Your Animals

Here in Mt. Shasta we have been experiencing overnight lows in the single digits and daytime highs around freezing. A rule of thumb we use in the cold is when you let an animal out int he cold, stay with them. When it’s too cold for you to stay outside, it’s too cold for them and they should be brought in.

Walks in the cold are fine and upon returning home, check your dog’s paws for ice balls between the pads and wipe them off to remove rock salt or other deicing chemicals. Ingesting those chemicals can cause inflammation of the digestive track.

If you live near a pond or lake, be very careful about letting your dog run across the frozen water. They can fall through and it is extremely dangerous for the dog to be in ice cold water and for you to then attempt to rescue them! Keep them on a leash near those types of water sources.

When playing in the snow, remember short haired and short legged dogs get colder a lot faster than long haired and/or long legged ones.

Health issues can also play a role in cold affecting our animals. Diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease and some hormonal imbalances can compromise an animal’s ability to regulate body heat. Very young, very old or animals that are not generally in good health shouldn’t be exposed to the cold for long periods of time.

I am not one to recommend that any animal sleep outside full time, but if your animal does have to stay outside, you must be sure that they have a water bowl that will not freeze and shelter with a flap so that their space is draft free.

Also you must provide straw or bedding that can be up off the ground and is always dry. Your animal may also need a food with a high protein source during extreme cold. Consider purchasing a higher quality food with “chicken” “turkey” or “beef” as the first ingredient on the list.

If you are going to keep your animal out full time, please, consider allowing your animal inside on nights that get below 40 degrees.

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