Depending on where you live, the weather can change drastically throughout the year. Some states experience more of a dry heat, while other states are extremely humid. Some areas get large amounts of snow in the winter, and other areas get a lot of rain. So the question is: How does the changing weather affect our pets?

The Effects of Cold Weather on Pets

Brrrr! Winters can be long and cold in many areas with what seems like never-ending snow and bitter wind chills. Older pets can have an especially hard time in cold temperatures. Aging pets can have a harder time retaining body heat, and the cold can make achy joints and arthritis even more painful. Pets with diabetes, heart disease, or kidney disease can also have a harder time regulating their body temperature.

Activity levels can vary widely among pets during the cold months. While some long-haired or double-coated breeds may enjoy playing in the snow for short periods of time, you will probably find that smaller breeds, short-haired breeds, and senior pets just want to curl up in a warm area of the house and take a nap.

Tips For Keeping Your Pet Safe in the Cold

Here are a few tips for keeping your pet safe in the cold!

  • Make sure your pet’s drinking water doesn’t freeze. Pets need fresh water to avoid dehydration. Heated water bowls can help ensure your pet’s water stays drinkable!
  • Frostbite and hypothermia are two concerns that pet owners need to be aware of during the winter months. Some people mistakenly think that pets are resistant to the cold because of their fur, but this just isn’t true. It’s important to keep your pet inside as much as possible. Exposed skin can freeze quickly!
  • If you’re unable to keep your pet inside, make sure to provide a warm, dry, and solid shelter from the cold and wind.
  • Protecting your pet’s paws are important during the cold months. Salt and chemicals used to melt snow can irritate your pet’s feet and cause cracked paw pads. Cleaning your pet’s paws after being outside and wearing booties will help!
  • Our homes can become very dry during the winter months, which can cause dry skin, itching, and irritation for our pets. Omega fatty acids, vitamins, and supplements can help keep your pet’s skin healthy. Brewer’s yeast with garlic supplements are rich in nutrients to help with dry, itchy skin.
  • Antifreeze is very toxic for pets, so it’s important to be proactive and clean up antifreeze puddles right away.

The Effects of Warm Weather on Pets

Some of the bigger concerns during the summer months for our pets include the heat, pests, and allergies. The warmer months tend to bring environmental allergies, especially when the plants are pollinating. Warmer weather is also the time for irritating pests, including fleas. These problems can lead to itchy skin and scratching, which can result in further issues like bacterial infections and hot spots.

Similar to the cold months, a cat or dog’s behavior can vary in hot weather. Large-breed dogs, brachycephalic breeds (breeds with shortened snouts), and long-haired breeds are more susceptible to the heat. If your pet is one of these breeds, you may notice that they become more sluggish during hot weather. Other pets may perk up and become more active as the temperature rises.

Tips For Keeping Your Pet Safe in the Heat

Here are some tips for keeping your pet safe in the heat!

  • Dehydration in pets is a big concern during the summer months. Making sure your pet always has access to fresh water and shade will help prevent dehydration. You can also promote hydration with an electrolyte supplement!
  • Limit exercise on hot days and try to exercise during the early mornings or evening hours when it’s cooler.
  • Flea and tick control is key during the warmer months! It’s important to treat your pet, your home, and your pet’s outdoor environment. Check out our tips for preventing fleas and ticks from bothering your pet.
  • Dogs and cats that are old or overweight are more prone to developing heat exhaustion. It’s important to never leave your pet in a parked car during the summer months. Make sure you are familiar with the signs of heat stroke in pets and take the proper steps to avoid it!
  • Rodenticides and lawn and garden insecticides can be harmful if ingested, so it’s important to keep them out of reach.

Weather changes can be difficult for pets, just like for us! It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on any concerning changes in your pet’s health or behavior, and consult your veterinarian if you’re worried.