Click below to listen to KMZU’s Kristie Cross talk to Dr. Aaron Mayberry Carroll County Veterinarian.
Dr. Mayberry gives us an idea on how to gauge if the weather is too cold for your pet to be outside. “If you can go outside in just a long sleeve shirt and feel comfortable, then they’re probably going to be OK, but if you start to get cold then you probably need to start taking measures to make sure they stay warm,” explains Dr. Mayberry, “Then it just goes up. If they’re a medium-haired animal then just imagine yourself wearing a light jacket. And if you get cold, same kind of thing. And the really long-haired dogs that are bred to be in areas where it’s wintery, just know if you are wearing a winter coat then you probably need to give them some extra shelter and warmth.”
Having some sort of shelter is a key part in keeping pets warm during the winter months. “The main thing is, just like with us, you want to get out of the wind and it needs to be dry. So, use bedding that is good for insulating like blankets or straw,” Mayberry said, “But you need to make sure that it stays dry because if it gets wet, then the animal gets wet and it just speeds up how quickly they can get cold.”
Dr. Mayberry tells us how to warm pets up in the case of them getting too cold. “Seeing an animal shiver whenever it’s cold is normal, that’s a way they can warm up; however, if they are doing it continuously and they don’t seem to ever get warm, you definitely need to bring them out of the elements and get them warmed up. The best way to do that, rather than putting them directly in front of a heater, is to wrap warm dry blankets around them and get them to slowly raise that core temperature back up. Obviously, you can always call your vet and have the vet see them and make sure there is nothing else going on.”
It’s also important to keep our livestock comfortable in the cold months. “The same type of thing applies to livestock and to horses. They can withstand some cold temperatures because they are used to being out in them,” Dr. Mayberry says, “But they do need to kind of have a little bit of a break from it. For cattle that could be as simple as some trees out in your pasture so they can get out of the wind a little bit. They need a place where they can huddle up for warmth.”
Dr. Mayberry also reminds us that keeping fresh water for your pets continues to be a priority during the winter months.