UF Faculty Tips: Winter Pet Health
This year has brought many new challenges to the campus community, the country, and the world. University of Findlay faculty and staff came together to provide tips and tricks on handling this very unusual holiday season.
If you’re a new pet owner this year, we’d like to help you prepare for caring for your pets in the winter months. The third part of this short series provides advice from College of Sciences faculty member Brandon Forshey, D.V.M., assistant professor of animal science and director of pre-veterinary medicine, on keeping your pets safe in cold weather.
- When walking your dog during the winter, be sure to clean their feet when going inside to remove all the snow and salt. Give them an option to walk on a dry sidewalk out of the snow if possible. Dogs may lick their paws to get the snow and salt off, allowing for potential ingestion of large amounts of salt which can cause an upset stomach or even vomiting if enough is swallowed.
- If you plan on walking long distances, be sure to work them up to that distance and or pace. Dogs develop endurance just like humans. If a person has not trained for a run, then tries to run several miles, it will be a huge challenge. Animals are the same. They need the practice to build up endurance.
- If your animal needs to stay outside, be sure they have a dry, insulated area to go to that is protected from the wind, snow, and rain. For warmth, the biggest thing is out of the wind. Dry blankets or straw works great, but it needs to be dry.
- For outside animals, be mindful and watch for signs that they are cold such as shivering, not wanting to walk anymore, or having a hunched back.
- Hydration is important, so make sure outside water sources aren’t frozen. You can purchase heaters for troughs and buckets, just keep checking that they are working properly, or get the animals water every couple of hours depending on how cold it is.
- It’s important to note that if they are outside in the cold, they are going to burn more calories. That means they will need to eat more. Be sure to monitor their body condition score and provide more food and water if necessary.
- If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact your veterinarian. They are extremely busy right now, so please be patient.
Learn more about the animal science and pre-veterinary programs offered at University of Findlay on the Animal Sciences webpage.