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Northwest Iowa Dairy Outlooks

A local discussion of current science and issues concerning dairying in northwest iowa

A major blast of Artic air that reminded anyone outside very long that the low temperatures are uncomfortable and can be dangerous. The frigid weather can pose special risks to your pets. Here are some tips for keeping them safe and healthy during the cold weather around the holidays.

  • Always provide fresh, clean water for your pet. If temperatures are below freezing, check their water for ice formation and remove the ice.
  • Indoor pets should be provided with a warm, dry area free from drafts. Provide bedding that is off cold floors, and wash or change bedding weekly if possible to help in controlling fleas.
  • Outdoor pets should have dry shelter out of the wind. Bring cats and dogs into the house if the weather conditions are rainy, snowy or weather conditions are extremely severe.
  • Staying warm requires extra calories, pets may need more food or a change in diet. Talk to your veterinarian about your pet’s needs.
  • Remove ice, salt, mud, snow from your pet’s coats, feet as soon as possible. If the skin looks reddish, white or grey in cold weather, may be scaly or peeling, suspect frostbite if the weather has been really cold. Talk to a veterinarian immediately.
  • Shedding-Most dogs and cats shed their summer coats in the fall before putting on their winter coat. Most years this is light and not very noticeable. Special attention should be paid to hair coats and daily or weekly brushing (as needed) should help your pet and you be happier.
  • Cats and kittens like to nap on warm places, this can include car engines! Knock on the hood of your car or truck or honk the horn, then wait a few minutes before starting the engine. If in doubt, open the hood and look.
  • Antifreeze smells good and tastes very sweet, Very small amounts can kill your pet. If a cat walks through in and then licks its paws, it will get enough. The damage is done as chemicals crystallize in the kidney, so symptoms may not show up for a few days and then it may be too late. Thoroughly clean up any spills, store antifreeze in tightly closed containers and store where pets and children can’t get to them. Do not dispose of antifreeze by pouring into the gutter and never let your pet drink from the gutters.

Fall is the most common time of year for male cats to “block” by forming small “stones” that block the flow of urine from the bladder through the urethra. Any cat that seems to be straining to urinate should be checked by a veterinarian at once. One of the most common complaints veterinarians hear is that the owner thought the cat was constipated. Why this time of year? It may have to do with decreased water intake.

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