Seasonal change is now also placing our pets at risk. A new digital service from MSD Animal Health tailored for pet lovers offers advice about weather conditions.
Seasonal change - such as milder winters and autumns and the general rise in temperatures - has serious repercussions, not only on humans and the environment, but also on our pets, which are affected physically and with behavioral changes.
Prolonged presence of parasites throughout the year and increased risk of related diseases - as well as fears, phobias, and loss of appetite - can be a problem for our four-legged friends that pet parents often do not know much about nor how to deal with them.
Therefore, from the need to provide solid support for daily living comes PET METEO: the new digital service created by MSD Animal Health to supplement the Protect Our Future Too campaign, to offer simple and immediate advice on how to take care of your pets and protect them in the right way.
PET METEO, HOW IT WORKS
Easily accessible and available for consultation at any time, the goal of PET METEO is to provide targeted and “customized” solutions based on the particular weather conditions of a given location. It is very easy to use: simply visit the website, enter your ZIP Code in the appropriate box and choose whether you would like to receive advice on dogs or cats. The platform, by connecting to a weather service, automatically locates the user within one of the four weather groups identified - freezing/snow; cold; from warm to hot; hot and dry - and with just a click provides five tips to follow for each of the three categories in which the platform has been arranged: “health”, “behavior”, and “family”.
For example, what can be done to take care of our four-legged friends and our families in colder climes? In the “family” section, PET METEO recommends that dog parents entertain their dogs even at home by organizing, for example, games that can help to keep them in shape during periods when many hours will be spent indoors. Additionally, among the tips to safeguard their health, the platform cautions that, even during the coldest seasons, some parasites may be present and active and that a heated home is the ideal place for them to survive. Lastly, in the “behavior” section, dog parents are reminded to pay attention to older dogs, who may suffer from osteoarthritis, and advises not to keep them outside for too long, monitoring any signs of fatigue.
Moreover, dog parents are reminded to add an extra blanket for dogs that sleep outside and to dry them if they come back wet from rolling in the frosted grass after a walk.
Looking for tips on cats? Even for them, there is no shortage of advice! Here, for example, are some tips for frost or snow. A polar climate can expose cats to the risk of hypothermia, and compact, icy soil can cause skin damage to paw pads. In addition, salt that is used by many people to prevent pathways from icing over may get caught in between paw pads and cause irritation. For this reason, PET METEO reminds us that it is always important to clean their paws thoroughly once they are back inside the house. Moreover, when it gets cold, many cats seek shelter under cars to protect themselves from the elements: a good habit to adopt is, before getting into the car, to knock on the hood and take a look near the wheels to remove any shelter-seekers who may have temporarily settled in to protect themselves from the cold. Lastly, it may not be common knowledge that some types of antifreeze have a sweet taste and are irresistible to cats, but care must be taken since they are highly toxic substances and it is therefore advisable not to leave containers open or within reach of our pet. However, during the winter season, there are not only risks of a physical type: if cats are cooped up indoors for many hours they can become restless or stressed and, in some cases, stress may manifest itself with loss of appetite or self-isolation, avoiding contact with others. Therefore, watch out for these warning signs!
These are just a few of the many small steps to put into practice for daily living. For all other tips, hints, and things to watch out for, you can visit the section dedicated to PET METEO on the website Protect Our Future Too www.protectourfuturetoo.com/it/pet-meteo/ to discover all the ones that suit your needs! In any case, it is essential to remember that your reference point for any doubt or evaluation is the Veterinarian, who will always be able to advise you and direct you on what to do.
The PET METEO platform is part of the Protect Our Future Too initiative, the project launched internationally by MSD Animal Health to inform and raise awareness among pet lovers and veterinarians on the impact that seasonal changes have on our pets.
Protect Our Future Too, promoted in more than 30 European countries, Russia, North Africa, and the Middle East, brought together 18 of the most important European scientists and leading experts in animal health to discuss the risks resulting from seasonal change and identify the best practices to adopt in order to prevent and contain the problem.
Among the main findings of this initiative is that the effects of seasonal changes can be traced back to four main categories: increase in the number and spread of parasites, greater risk of contracting diseases caused by “vector” parasites, repercussions on behavior and on animal health (closely related to human health).
Just think, for example, of the spread of diseases such as Leishmaniasis, classified as “exotic” until only 20 years ago, or of Lyme disease, which is transmitted by ticks and also dangerous to humans, and note how today the vectors responsible for transmission of these “zoonotic” diseases are, in some areas, a danger that is present all year round. But also the spread of some behavioral pathologies in dogs and cats, such as fear or phobia of thunderstorms, and cognitive dysfunctions in elderly dogs, which can be correlated and aggravated by seasonal changes.
So, how can you take care of your pet? The key, according to all experts, is to protect your pet and take preventive measures throughout all 12 months of the year with the help of your veterinarian, avoiding the reasoning that some vector-borne diseases may be a risk only in certain times of the year.
And it is precisely the goal of MSD Animal Health to reiterate the importance of prevention and protection throughout the year which, as always, stands by pet lovers and Veterinarians in a concrete and tangible way, providing them with a digital tool that allows you to apply, in everyday life, precautions and best practices for the well-being of your pets and the entire family!