We’ve received many calls about the safety of walking your pets in the intense cold. “People are very concerned about whether it’s safe to allow their pets out to go potty in the cold,” said Ashleigh N., receptionist at Grove Animal Hospital & Holistic Center and Riverside Animal Clinic McHenry. “Our pet owners are worried.”
The response to this question is based upon size of your pet. Dr. Jim Carlson, clinic owner and veterinarian, says small dogs should definitely stay indoors and shouldn’t risk the scary outdoor temps. “A human needs medical attention within 4 minutes of exposure to the bitter cold. It takes a dog a few minutes to use the facilities outdoors so this is a high risk for dogs as well,” said Dr. Carlson. The risks include: frostbite, hypothermia and burning of the pads and exposed areas.
Dr. Carlson suggests the following:
- All small pets use a potty patch or disposable pad in the house.
- For medium and large dogs, feet should be wrapped in booties and plastic bags to prevent snow build up.
- If you don’t have booties, please use petroleum jelly on your pet’s feet to lessen the blow of the cold and help prevent snow build up.
- The trip outside should be quick with just 1-2 minutes of outdoor activity.
- Definitely keep your pet on a leash even in a fenced yard.
- This prevents a longer stay outside for both you and your dog.
- Your trip outside should last no more than 1-2 minutes, That’s it. This weather is not safe.
- Examine exposed paws after returning to the house and remove snow and salt build up. Wipe paws carefully with a warm washcloth.
Also, our follower, Jamine K-P, says she keeps the door cracked to her heated garage and has made some really cool cat shelters for strays and feral cats. The shelters offer bedding and warmth and are insulated with styrofoam. Please be kind to them and take a page from Jasmine’s book!
We care about you and your pets. If you can’t care for your animals please contact our offices for assistance. We are taking in pets that can’t stay at home or in a warming center free of charge for the next few days.
Riverside Animal Clinic McHenry 815-344-7716 Grove Animal Hospital & Holistic Center 847-541-4005