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Winter Weather and Your Pet

Now that winter has arrived, adjusting to the season means different things to different pets.

If you have a pet that is older or has arthritis, colder weather may have an impact on their bodies. If your pet is due for their annual, or semiannual, wellness exam with their veterinarian, now is a good time to make sure that they get a thorough exam.

Tolerance to cold weather can vary from breed to breed and individual pet to pet. Observation can be one of your best tools. Taking note of their comfort level and how long they are able to tolerate the cold will go a long way towards being able to adjust how long they spend outdoors.

According to the American Veterinary Medication Association, factors that impact cold tolerance include coat, body fat stores, activity level, and health.

AVMA advises that arthritic and elderly pets can have challenges walking on snow and ice. They may also be prone to slipping and falling.

Even if your pet has a thick coat or long fur, they can still be at risk in the cold weather despite being more tolerant of cold temperatures. Short furred dogs can get cold more quickly because they have less protection. If your pet is low to the ground, they run the risk of getting cold because their bodies make contact with snow.

Finally, pets with specific diseases like diabetes, kidney disease, or hormonal imbalances may struggle to manage their body temperatures. The same problem may arise in very young or very old pets. If you have more specific questions, consult with your primary veterinarian.

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