When temperatures plummet, the extreme cold can be tough on pets.
Dr. Miranda Logan, Foothills Animal Hospital veterinarian and owner, says while some dogs, such as Huskies and Alaskan Malamutes, are built for this weather, most others are not.
She recommends a jacket and booties for dogs in extreme cold to help prevent heat loss as well as protect sensitive paw pads from the irritating effects of de-icers sprinkled on sidewalks.
She points out that de-icers can also cause gastrointestinal issues when dogs lick the chemicals off their paws.
"I always recommend to people that if they've gone for a walk and their dogs aren't wearing booties or don't have the special wax that goes on the pads, to actually just do a quick rinse of the feet and towel them dry afterwards," Logan says.
She suggests closely monitoring outdoor time for cats as well as coming up with creative ways to keep dogs active indoors, such as playing with toys or scent games.
"Our puppies and our really old senior dogs, they need a lot of extra care," she points out. "They just don't have the energy level, when they're seniors, to be active enough to keep themselves warm and our puppies just don't know when to stop."
Logan also points out that pets should not be left in vehicles for any more than a couple of minutes during a cold snap. She says even if they try to roll into a ball to stay warm, it won't take long before they begin to lose body heat.
"It's not worth taking the chance," she says. "If we can be proactive, it's much easier than trying to play catch-up and dealing with those things that are preventable."
She points out that most pet owners that she knows use common sense caring for animals in the cold, adding she's only had to treat a few barn cats and one dog for frostbitten ears during her 17 years of practice in town.
If you see something we should know about e-mail us at [email protected]