Frigid Fido: Keep pets hydrated, give them access to shelter during cold spurts

Frigid Fido: Keep pets hydrated, give them access to shelter during cold spurts

<p><p>Morning dog walks will be a bit colder than usual this week, with temperatures <a href=”https://www.spokesman.com/stories/2021/dec/28/frigid-temperatures-expected-to-continue-though-we” target=”_blank”>forecast to drop below zero</a>.</p></p><p><p>With extremely cold weather, it’s important to keep pets hydrated, said Charlie Powell, spokesman for the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine. </p></p><p><p>“Water is one of the big things,” Powell said. “In order to fight off hypothermia, an animal needs to be well-hydrated just like people do.”</p></p><p><p>If pets are drinking water from an outdoor source, that means changing the water frequently and removing any icy layers that develop.</p></p><p><p>Protect pets and livestock as much as possible by bringing them indoors or to covered areas, said Miranda Cote, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Spokane.</p></p><p><p>“If they can be inside, it’s better,” Cote said.</p></p><p><p>When walking smaller dogs, consider if they need a coat, Powell said.</p></p><p><p>“For short-haired breeds like chihuahuas and those types of things, yeah, they probably need a coat,” Powell said.</p></p><p><p>A Corgi, for example, is close to the ground and therefore will lose more of its body heat to the cold sidewalk than a dog that has longer legs, Powell said. Larger dogs and longhaired dogs usually do not need a coat, Powell said.</p></p><p><p>“This time of year, people use a lot of deicing chemicals on pavement or the sidewalks, that can be really an irritant to dogs feet,” Powell said.</p></p><p><p>Licking off those chemicals could then lead to stomach problems, Powell said. He suggested keeping a box of baby wipes near the front door to wipe off an animal’s feet after an outdoor walk. An alternative solution is booties to keep pets’ feet warm. While they may walk funny at first, most animals will quickly adapt, Powell said.</p></p><p><p>Walking a dog during the warmest part of the day is also an easy solution to help pets stay warm, Powell said.</p></p><p><p>Dogs and cats don’t need extra food during cold months, Powell said. In fact, overfeeding can lead to health issues later on.</p></p><p><p>Outdoor pets still need some protection, Powell said. An enclosure so they can get out of the elements is a good idea, whether that’s a box or putting them in the garage, Powell said.</p></p><p><p>Indoor-outdoor cats likely will make the decision on their own to stay inside if they feel it’s too cold outdoors, he said.</p></p><p><p>If cats decide to stay indoors, try to change their litter box more frequently since that’s their only option, Powell said.</p></p><p><p>For cats that stay outdoors, don’t worry, Powell said – they’ll find shelter if they need it.</p></p><p><p>“Cats can always and will always find shelter,” Powell said.</p></p><p><p>Sometimes that shelter can be under the hood of a nearby car, he said. The easiest way to make sure critters climb out before starting the car is to bang on the hood a couple of times, Powell said.</p></p>