Animals in the cold

By Jurgen Vlaar

Back in February the weather in The Netherlands was very strange. It got to the coldest temperatures measured in nearly a decade really fast. And the animals struggling to deal with the sudden changes in temperature.

Freezing toes
According to veterinarians such as Elske Buursink of J. De Jong Dierenartsen, animals are vulnerable to both hypothermia and frostbite as much as humans. Fortunately the impact of such weather conditions aren’t causing mass death across the animals in The Netherlands.

Watch your pets

This could especially happen to pets. Extreme colds could be very harmful to pets considering they
are used to room temperature warmth. It is the advice that you need to keep you pet inside.
Buursink also stated that people should cover up the hutch for the rabbits to keep them warm.
The veterinarian warns people too look over their pets in wintertime. The salt sprayed over the roads to melt the snow is dangerous for dogs for example. Pet owners should look out that their animal buddies don’t walk too much on the salted concrete since that can cause pains on their paws. Some animals tend to lick the salt too and veterinarian Buursink urges people to look out for that.

“In extreme cases it could cause salt poisoning because the salt level in the blood would be too high, fortunately the fatality rate relatively rare.” A dog in the snow Animals in the wild can have it tough too. Stray animals have a different story. They have to rely on their natural instincts and more often than not, it’s effective as long as they find shelters. That wasn’t the case in the North-East of the United States way back in 1888. Due to the sudden switch from rainy days to a blizzard it made it so that many animals became stuck in the terrain and unfortunately passed away due to the cold. This snowstorm in The Netherlands was way more calm so the vast majority succeeded to survive storm Darcy. The only real problem wild animals faced this time around was finding a prey or even food beneath the snow lair.

It is common knowledge that birds tend to go south when winter approaches. But they don’t have
time for that in extreme weather conditions such as snowstorms. “There are a lot of examples of
birds dropping from the sky during a snowstorm. It is difficult for them to adjust to these quick
changing weather conditions… It’s really hard to help them because they are so hard to reach”
Buursink said. To put things in perspective: tens of thousands of birds died in the Swedish snowstorm of 1985. The expectation is that the fatalities in this snowstorm are less but that doesn’t undermine the harm that this snowstorm does cause because of these intense weather conditions.