Residents of Las Vegas have surely noticed the steep drop in temperatures over the last few weeks. This cold front has lasted longer than a typical Las Vegas winter and has brought sub-freezing temperatures to the valley for many days in a row. These temperatures typically drop below freezing overnight and into the morning hours. Although many people have taken precautions to bring their animals inside during these winter times, even if the pets are typically “outdoor” animals, many have still not taken the extra steps necessary to keep their pet’s safe when the temperatures drop. Many Las Vegas veterinarians are seeing increases in the amount of frostbite cases to animal’s extremities, as well as other issues that go along with the colder temperatures. The best way of keeping your pet’s safe over the winter is to bring them inside, and not let them out unsupervised at any time. If you cannot bring your pets inside with you, at least take extra precautions to keep them safe from the cold.
Provide a shelter. Always make sure that your pets have a shelter that they can comfortably get inside of during cold weather. If this structure can be heated, make sure that the heater does not create any dangerous fumes inside the shelter, or that the heater cannot be compromised by rain or snow. Animals will instinctively seek out warm places to sleep, but older or sicker animals may not be able to find them very well even if they are provided. It is a good idea to work with your pet to make sure they understand the location of their shelter, and that they can comfortably get in and out of the structure. Inside the shelter provide blankets or other elements that can help keep the animal warm. Always remember that even though they have fur, they are just as susceptible to the colder temperatures as you are. If you feel cold, then they do to.
Make sure there is adequate food and water. Always remember that water will freeze in cold temperatures, so it is always a good idea to provide water on a drip system that will not completely freeze if the temperature goes too low. Also, never store your pet’s food in metal containers or bowls as these can cause an animal’s tongue to stick if the temperature is low enough. Every year, veterinarians in Las Vegas see cases of animals who have torn skin from their tongue attempting to remove it from being stuck to a metal food bowl left outside. This can cause extreme pain and bleeding.
Protect from frostbite. Even though Las Vegas is generally a warmer climate, our winters go below freezing very often. Make sure that your pet is not getting frostbitten on their body extremities like their paws, tail, nose or ears. These areas of your pet are just as susceptible to frostbite as your fingers and toes. Many people think that animals skin is tougher than human beings, but nothing is further from the truth. If your pet becomes frostbitten, get them to the nearest veterinarian immediately.
Lower temperatures means additional dangers for pets left outside, and it is always the suggestion to make sure that even outdoor animals are brought into a heated area during times of extreme cold. It’s cold out there Las Vegas, bring those furry friends inside!