If you were to let your pet decide if they want to stay outdoors or come indoors during the winter, many might choose to remain outside. There are so many smells and things to do in the backyard that many pets prefer it. However, there are lots of reasons why you shouldn’t let your dog or cat stay outside during the winter months. Even pets that typically spend a lot of their day outdoors during the rest of the year should be brought inside when the temperature drops and the snow begins to fall. There is nothing wrong with a little adventure outside when you can manage it, either on a leash or in an enclosed area, but if you can prevent it, do not allow your pet to wander during the winter or spend a significant amount of time outdoors.
Reason #1 – Sickness
Studies show that pets who spend a lot of time outdoors in the winter are more likely to become sick than doors that stay indoors. Exposure to more extreme conditions, including low temperatures, snow, ice, and wind, can cause your pet’s body to work harder to stay warm. Over time, this can take a toll on your pet’s immune and circulatory systems. While some breeds can do better in cold temperatures, such as Huskies and Maine Coon cats, you should still limit the amount of time that they spend outdoors. Pets that are immune-compromised, very young or very old, are especially at risk for many cold weather-related illnesses.
Reason #2 – Death
New England pet owners often seek out seasonal pet tips because we know that the temperatures here can vary widely throughout the year. Veterinary care in Massachusetts should include an annual check-up and professional advice for Dartmouth winter pet care. Keeping pets outside for extended periods of time can result in frostbite or hypothermia. Pets can even freeze to death, regardless of whether they have an outdoor shelter or even if they are wearing a winter sweater or other seasonal gear. Make sure you let your pet sleep indoors inside a warm house regardless of the season. Unexpected cold snaps and extreme weather conditions can be dangerous at any time of the year.
Reason #3 – Problems with Neighbors
There are many reasons why you might have issues with your neighbors if you choose to leave your pet outdoors during the winter. Pet lovers might be concerned that your pet is outside and contact local authorities about your pet’s well-being. Dogs that are unhappy at being left outdoors will become more vocal, barking at just about anything they see at all hours of the night. Noise complaints can be costly in some areas, with hefty fines coming due to disgruntled neighbors calling about local ordinances. Cats and dogs who are left outdoors will often seek warmth wherever they can find it, including entering a neighbor’s home or property. This can be dangerous for everyone involved, especially when the pet is cold and frightened.
Reason #4 – Domesticated Animals
Dogs and cats are too far removed from the wild animals in their family tree. Used to being close to, with, and cared for by humans, they have lost many of their instincts and abilities to survive in extreme temperatures and conditions. Thinner coats, diminished protective mechanisms, and other factors can mean that your pet may not be able to survive outdoors as well as you might think. As a result, animal abuse that includes the failure to provide pets with adequate care, shelter, and provisions is a top tier felony. Criminal charges could be filed against someone who leaves their pets outdoors in the winter and puts them at risk.
Veterinary Care in Massachusetts
To learn more about taking care of your pet throughout the seasons in New England, make sure to schedule an appointment with your trusted veterinarian at Anchor Animal Hospital. Vet care for cats and dogs is essential to ensure a long and healthy life. Dartmouth winter pet care is very different than the care and protection needed by pets in other parts of the country. If you would like to hear more seasonal pet tips or get preventive treatment and care advice for your pet, contact our team at 508-996-3731 and speak with one of our team members. We can schedule an appointment, answer questions, and help you provide the best veterinary care in Massachusetts for your family pet.