Winterizing Your Pet Advice from the California Veterinary Clinic

Cold weather is tough on pets. The following tips from the California Veterinary Clinic and Animal Health Center will provide your pet with a better "quality of life" through the winter months:

  • Update all vaccinations. Increased stress of cold weather lowers the resistance to disease. Your pet needs more than just a Rabies vaccination. Dogs should be vaccinated against DHLP, Parvovirus, Coronavirus and Bordetella each year. Cats should receive FERCP, Rabies, Feline Leukemia and FIP.

  • Heartworm preventive should be given year-round. The medication kills certain immature stages of the Heartworm during its travel through the body before it reaches the heart. The medication should be given all year long to insure all immature Heartworms are killed when they reach the stage of susceptibility to the medication.

  • Internal Parasite Examinations insure your pet is "worm-free." Internal parasites drain your pet's blood, protein and energy. Worms are a burden.

  • Feed high quality food to met the increased nutritional needs during cold weather. You get what you pay for in pet foods. "High Protein" labels do not mean it is "digestible protein." Pets kept outside should be fed more food to meet their needs through the winter. Fresh Water should always be available. Be sure to provide unfrozen water at least twice daily during zero weather. Porcelain bowls will prevent tongues from sticking to it. Avoid metal bowls for this reason.

  • Vitamin supplements Dogs: PET TABS‚; Cats: NUTRICAL‚ increase your pet's resistance to the effects of cold weather and provide special needed nutritional elements that often deteriorate once a bag of food has been opened.

  • Brush your pet daily to maintain its hair coat.

  • Provide adequate shelter. Providing adequate shelter from the elements is the key to a healthy outdoor pet. The pet that has a cozy refuge where he can seek shelter from the cold wind, driving rain, sleet and snow will be better able to tolerate the cold temperatures. Pet shelters should be tightly constructed and no larger than three times the size of the pet. The doorway should be just big enough for the pet to enter and positioned away from the prevailing wind direction. Building the shelter off the ground a couple of inches and adding insulation underneath will greatly add to the pet's comfort. Be sure all insulation is sealed away from the pet. Position the shelter where it will get the most sunlight in the winter. Cedar shavings make the best bedding. No pet should be out in zero or sub-zero weather for more than a few minutes without adequate shelter. Winter is no time to begim keeping a pet outside. Acclimation should begin in warm weather, permitting gradual increase in hair growth as temperatures become cooler.

  • Antifreeze can be lethal. It is sweet tasting to your pet. Always clean up any spills in the garage or driveway. Contact our veterinarian immediately if you suspect even a "few licks" by the pet.

  • Cats sleep close to warm car engines. Know the location of your cat and honk your horn before starting the car.

  • Chocolate can be fatal. Keep those one pound chocolate kisses away from your pet.

  • Salt can hurt paws. Clean the footpads immediately when coming back inside. Dry skin (dandruff) is a result of dry heat in the house. Keep the pet brushed. We have proper skin moisturizers and food supplements. Avoid over-the-counter products.

The California Veterinary Clinic is located at Highway 87 N California. For more information, call 573-796-3168.

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