You would be hard pressed to find anyone that would argue with you that New England has some of the coldest winters in America. As the snow begins to fall – and temperatures right along with it – New Bedford pet owners and animal lovers around the South Coast region need to be aware of what it takes to protect their pets and other animals from the cold weather. Through proper veterinary care in Massachusetts, including regular check-ups, a healthy diet and a warm place to stay in the winter months, animals in the northeastern states can enjoy a nice long life.
Provide a Warm Place to Rest
While many cats and dogs are “outside pets,” in an area like New England, it is important to provide them with a warm place to come into from the cold. While dog houses might be sufficient in some parts of the country, they will not do the trick in areas that get snow, ice and freezing temperatures. Make sure that your pet has a safe place to come into from the cold and if they get caught outdoors for some reason, make sure to get vet care for cats and dogs right away to ensure that they don’t have any unseen injuries or health issues. Outdoor enclosures should at least have straw, hay, blankets, towels or a safe heating source to provide them with warmth if they are unable to come indoors.
Protect Their Feet
Imagine if you were to walk outside in the snow and ice with your bare feet. One of the things that we see at the Anchor Animal Hospital in Dartmouth is pets whose feet have become damaged due to contact with icy surfaces. Cuts, abrasions and other dangers can come from direct contact with the ice. Even the salt that is used to melt the ice can cause damage to sensitive paws and toes. Veterinarians recommend that New Bedford pet owners take time to check out the feet of their pets to make sure that ice chunks, ice or even other objects have not become lodged in their feet after spending time in the snowy weather.
Clean Drinking Water
This is a very important provision year-round, but in the winter it is important to make sure that your pet has access to thawed drinking water at all times. Look into heated water bottle products that are sold at pet supply centers that can be used to make sure your pet’s water doesn’t freeze up when you are at work or away from home. Even in the winter months, providing fresh, clean water is extremely important, according to professionals in veterinary care in Massachusetts.
Keep Exercising Indoor Pets
Just like people, some pets can experience an unhealthy weight gain in the winter months because it is too cold to go outdoors. Make sure to take your pets for regular walks, taking all precautions to keep them safe from snow, freezing temperatures and ice. It will benefit you both! Also keep your dogs active indoors, playing games or tossing toys, to ensure that they don’t become lazy or unhealthy.
Beware of Pets and Cars
In the winter months, outdoor animals of all types – both domesticated and wild – will do whatever it takes to try and get warm. Check your vehicle to make sure that it is clear of cats, rodents or other wild animals before starting it. Animals have been known to climb onto engines or within engine areas to stay warm in the winter. Check wheel wells also to make sure an animal didn’t climb on top of your tires to get their feet and bodies off of the snow or ice. Vet care for cats and dogs, as well as other animals who have suffered from exposure, might not be enough for a pet that has been caught inside a vehicle when the engine starts.
Clear Slick Paths
Before taking your dog outdoors or letting animals outside to do their “business”, Anchor Animal Hospital in Dartmouth recommends that you clear any surfaces that might be slipper or icy. Pets need good traction to prevent injury or other physical risks. Shoveling snow to ensure that ice does not lie beneath, providing slip-proof mats or other helpful things on steps, stairs, walkways and driveways, can really do a lot to prevent associated problems.
Bottom Line: Use Common Sense
New Bedford pet owners need to think about how cold the weather feels to them before they just let pets outdoors or keep them outdoors in the winter months. If you have any other questions about issues surrounding veterinary care in Massachusetts during the cold, snowy and icy season, make sure to contact Anchor Animal Hospital in Dartmouth. Our team can help you schedule appointments to address vet care for cats and dogs, as well as other popular pocket and exotic pets in the South Coast region. Give us a call today at 508-996-3731 to schedule an appointment or to consult with one of our experienced veterinarians.