While winter is always treacherously cold, it is especially dangerous for everyone when the temperature dips to double digits below zero like it has this week. It is also dangerous for pets.
While we are taking extra precautions for ourselves, we need to remember that our furry loved ones can be just as affected as we are. Not all pets can survive outside in this kind of weather. However, there are some that believe that dogs will be fine if left outside and that is false.
According to ASPCA.org, there are breeds that are better suited to extreme cold weather than others. Huskies, for example, are well-known as sled dogs and do well in cold weather as compared to, say, a chihuahua. However, even they still need proper shelter against the elements and of course plenty of food and water.
Water is very important because they cannot get enough water from licking ice or eating snow. Ideally it would be best to have a heated water bowl. If they sleep in an outdoor shelter make sure they have proper bedding like straw or blankets to help keep their body heat in. A good idea is to provide a heated mat — most pet stores carry this item.
If there is a lot of snow and ice like we currently have, it is a good idea to not let your dog off its leash — especially during a snowstorm. They can easily lose their scent and get lost. More dogs get lost in the winter than any other season.
If cats are left outside they can freeze. This will cause them to seek out heat and they can get lost in the process. Watch out for heat seekers. Cats will sometimes sleep under the hood of a car for warmth. If the car starts while they are in there they could be injured or killed. A good idea is to knock on the hood or honk the horn prior to starting the vehicle.
Overall, pets should not be left outside in freezing weather for long periods of time. Believe it or not, they can develop hypothermia and frostbite just like us.