The climate in North Carolina is temperate enough for some pets to live outside year-round. Winters still get reasonably cold, though, and even extreme weather can strike on occasion. In early December, for example, High Point received an unprecedented 11 inches of snow. But as long as pet owners follow a few simple tips, they can keep their animals happy, healthy, and safe all season long. Here are some outdoor pet care tips to keep in mind this winter.
Winter Protection for Your Outdoor Pets
1. Continue With Parasite Protection
Although fleas and ticks are more active during the warmer months—typically April to September—you’ll still find them in wooded areas throughout North Carolina outside of those months. Therefore, keeping up with parasite protection through the winter is essential, especially for outdoor pets. Regardless of whether you have dogs, cats, or horses, continue applying their flea and tick protection as advised from October to March.
2. Schedule a Wellness Exam
Scheduling annual exams is a critical component of quality pet care. If your outdoor animals have not been to the vet this year, bring them in before it gets much colder. Your provider will let you know if they need special pet care accommodations to continue living outside. For example, animals with conditions like diabetes or hormonal imbalances may be unable to maintain a normal body temperature. Likewise, pets with arthritis may have more severe symptoms in the cold.
3. Adjust Their Diets
Pets that live outdoors must consume more calories in the winter because their energy expenditure will be higher. The colder it is, the more energy it takes to maintain a warm body temperature. It’s also wise to check your animals’ water more frequently and make sure it hasn’t turned to ice. Although it doesn’t often drop below freezing in North Carolina, a sudden fall in temperature could lead to dehydration for outdoor pets.
The friendly team at High Point Veterinary Hospital will help you keep your pets safe this winter by providing quality preventive care. This full-service animal hospital and pharmacy has been proud to care for indoor and outdoor pets throughout Guildford County, NC, since 2004. Their comprehensive pet care services include vaccinations, wellness exams, dental work, and surgery. They also offer cat and dog boarding, bathing, and grooming. To request an appointment for your furry friend, fill out their contact form online or call (336) 889-3832.