Extreme cold and pets

Here in some parts of Ontario, Canada we have close to – 40 C (- 40F). Extreme cold and pets means we must be extra cautious so they don’t get serious frost bite and or hypothermia.

For dogs and cats – they shouldn’t be out for longer than 10 minutes at a time (short haired dogs even less and should wear a coat). So basically enough to do their business and in they go…short walks are good – maybe more frequently but keep it short. And goes without saying don’t leave them in the car today unless you plan on having someone stay with them to run the heat.

If you have barn cats this would be the time to roll out the kitty shelters made from Rubbermaid that you can make yourself…they will need somewhere to warm up too. 🙂
For our horses and other livestock – they MUST have a windbreak/shelter and LOTS of hay (bacteria in their guts breaking down fiber in the hay and this creates heat). If you have hay nets today is the day to take them off especially if the holes are small…horses will consume more hay DO NOT restrict hay on cold days especially. Fat horses do not get fat from hay anyways (not a scope of this post so won’t go into that further here) so there is not reason to feed meals or restrict amounts. Lots of good quality grass hay will go a long way.
We must also watch that water is not frozen…it will freeze in a few minutes. So if you don’t have heated water buckets please offer water after each meal and another time at least at night so minimum 3 water offers per day. Give the horses low in the pecking order a chance to get a good drink first as sometimes the horses higher on the pecking order will hoard the water and then it will freeze.

Horses do not like to drink lots of cold water so on days like this it is imperative to bring out luke warm water in a bucket and offer to each horse just in case they don’t want to drink because they are cold.

To encourage drinking please add an extra tablespoon of salt if your horse is not drinking enough (2 TBS a day is normal…so you can add a bit more on very cold days to make sure). Always offer salt and sea kelp free choice.

Main thing is keep checking on everyone frequently…and watch for signs they are not handling the cold. Remember there will be shivering at first…but if they are out in the elements too long without proper shelter – they will no longer shiver – they will in fact think they are warm before succumbing to the elements.

And one last thing watch for any other animals out there that may not have as conscientious owners as you all are…if you see an animal in distress – call the human society or help out your neighbor sometimes they don’t know or are elderly or sick themselves to properly care for their creatures.

Stay warm everyone! and cuddle your babies extra today to keep them warm…

Leave a Reply