Not to state the obvious, but the weather is frigid, and the wind is not helping per usual for a Kansas January. As much as the cold is a challenge for us it makes for a significant foe to our pets and livestock. There a few key things you can do to keep your animals safe!
- Dry and sheltered. Make sure all animals have a way to stay dry and out of the wind. Wind chill is a real temperature issue and being wet is the quickest path to frostbite and hypothermia. For older pets, young animals in general, animals with medical conditions, thin-coated pets, horses, and stock, blankets and coats may be required to keep them warm enough.
- Heat sources. For some animals, especially the pets and younger animals, additional heat sources are necessary for survival. Use caution with heat lamps and space heaters that can catch fire easily.
- Believe it or not, dehydration is as common in the cold as during hot weather and eating snow and ice lowers the internal body temperature towards hypothermia. Make sure your animals have clean, drinkable water. Ideally, that water is between 45°F and 65°F to encourage more consumption.
- Be observant and diligent. Keep your pets away from puddles that may be anti-freeze, wipe your pets’ feet when they come in from outside to remove any de-icing agents and keep a keen eye out for signs of frostbite (swelling, skin discoloration, blistering, pain etc.).
The cold is not fun for anyone, but with some planning and paying-attention, you and your animals can weather the winter safely!