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Protect Your Pets in Winter

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Protect Your Pets in a Winter Storm

New England and Mid-Atlantic states are vulnerable to nor’easters, which are powerful winter storms. The Midwest has some of the most brutal winters in the country. Ontario also experiences severe weather and bitter cold temperatures. There are steps you can take to protect your furry friends in dead of winter and snowstorms.

Most Vulnerable Dog Breeds

While all dogs require some protection in extreme temperatures, some breeds are more sensitive to the cold then others. If your dog won’t open their mouth, seems lethargic, has cold breath, or a lowered body temperature, they are dangerously too cold. If you have one of these breeds, be extra careful:

  • Chihuahua 
  • Chinese Crested
  • Greyhound
  • Miniature Pinscher
  • Rat Terrier
  • Saluki
  • Toy Fox Terrier
  • Whippet
  • Yorkie

Canines in the Cold

The larger the dog, the more easily they lose body heat. On the other hand, a small dog’s paws can stick to the ice and snow. To avoid this, be sure to shovel a direct path to where they can go potty. Keep them restricted to that area when they go out until it warms up. Rock salt can irritate your dog’s paws, and it can be toxic if they lick the salt. Use pet safe salt around your home, and put booties on their paws when you walk them. Speaking of walks, you can get a collar light to make them more visible when you walk them at night. Dog goggles will protect their eyes from sun glare on the snow. 

If your dog loves rolling in the snow, be sure to wipe off their paws and belly with a damp cloth when they come inside. This warms them up and removes irritating dirt and salt residue.

In a winter storm, make sure you have enough food to last throughout an extended power outage. Be sure they are always wearing their ID tag with your contact information on it. Have a pet first aid kit ready to go just in case they get a minor injury. 

Felines in Frigid Temps

While dogs go outside more in the winter, cats need protection in winter, too. They can withstand the cold more easily than dogs. However, they shouldn’t be outside long when it’s colder than 45 degrees. After about 15 minutes, their body temperature can begin to drop and they are subject to hypothermia and frostbite.

Outdoor cats often take shelter in unsafe areas, such as inside the frame of your car. Double check for cats before you start your car by banging on the hood. This will wake them up if they are sleeping under or in your car. Watch out for leaking antifreeze as some cats might lick it and this is toxic to them. 

In a storm, be sure to have enough cat food to last through it. Other good things to have are small, soft toys and a cat bed with blankets. 

Small Animals in Snowy Weather
Puppies, bunnies, and kitties all like staying warm in the winter like these pets.

While dogs and cats are the most popular pets, we can’t forget about our small animals. If you own a rabbit, ferret, gerbil, hamster or guinea pig, here are things you can do for them in winter. Make their cage extra warm with additional newspaper and hay so they can burrow into it if they want to. Carpet samples make great mini rugs for them to lay on. Keep in mind they may need more calories (food) in winter to maintain a normal body temperature. 

For ferrets, they love running in the snow, but should only be out for 10 minutes. Ferret-proof any holiday decorations and your fireplace. Secure your doors so they don’t escape. 

If you have reptiles, be sure to wrap their cage in a blanket or towel. Always keep their water full. 

Finally, if you have a bird, make sure the house temperature does not drop below 65 degrees. Use a humidifier near their cage so their skin doesn’t get too dry.

If you have to evacuate during a storm, it is crucial that you bring your pets with you. Bring their cage if applicable. Bring a pet carrier if they don’t have a cage. Most shelters will take in your pets with you.

Prepare your Pets for Storms & Outages

At Generac, we want you to be prepared so you can stay safe and comfortable, no matter what the weather brings. While generators are important, there are many other things you can do to keep you and your pets safe. Learn more about what to do in an outage and in various types of storms.