Wellness Tips

Some Tips to Keep Your Pets Safe During Wintry Weather Conditions | Homes & Lifestyle

Santa Barbara County Animal Services (SBCAS) is reminding community members the public of the hazards of winter weather to pets as winter storms are expected the next few days with rain, strong winds, and icy conditions.

Cold weather, just like hot weather, can pose serious threats to the health of pets. Some pets are especially vulnerable to the cold, including puppies, kittens, birds, reptiles, seniors, and pregnant pets. SBCAS offers the following tips on how to keep your pets safe during wintry weather:

  • Check gates: High wind often causes fences to be blown out or gates to swing open.  Something as simple as a clip on a gate latch can keep pets safely on your property. 
  • Stay inside: If possible, keep pets indoors. Cats and dogs should be kept inside during cold and freezing weather. If it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet.  Most dogs begin to suffer when the temperatures drop below 40 degrees.
  • It’s sweater weather: If your dog has a short coat or seems bothered by the cold weather, consider a sweater or dog coat. Use a dry sweater or coat each time your dog goes outside. Wet sweaters or coats can actually make your dog colder.
  • Check paws and wipe down pets: After walks in rainy weather, paws, legs and bellies may pick up harmful chemicals that could be toxic if pets lick them off their feet or fur. Dog booties are a good option during wet and cold weather, but be sue they fit properly.
  • Make some noise: A warm vehicle engine can be an appealing place for a stray pet to find heat. Look underneath your car, bang on the hood, and honk the horn to encourage feline hitchhikers to leave their hiding spot under the hood.
  • Never leave a pet alone in a car during cold weather: A car can act as a refrigerator, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death. Always check to make sure dogs are welcome where you are going, otherwise leave them at home.
  • Wear a collar and check the chip: Make sure your pet is wearing a well-fitting collar with a current dog license and ID tag, and that your furry friend is microchipped with your up-to-date contact information, which can help reunite you with your lost pet should you become separated.
  • Winter wellness: Cold weather may worsen some medical conditions, such as arthritis. Pet should be examined by a veterinarian at least once a year, and it’s as good a time as any to get them checked out to make sure they are ready and as healthy as possible for cold weather.

SBCAS urges pet owners to be extra vigilant this week as the area experiences hail, sleet, snow, and wind. With local shelters at capacity, pet owners are urged to take care of their pets and keep them safe at home.

If you encounter a pet left in the cold, politely let the owner know you’re concerned. Some people don’t know the risk of cold weather to their pets.

SBCAS officers will be prioritizing calls of unsheltered pets this week. Report concerns online at https://www.countyofsb.org/1380/Abuse-Neglect.

To learn more about our services, adopting, volunteering or fostering, visit https://linktr.ee/sbcanimalservices.

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