Cold Weather Safety
By Camilynne Wallen, LVT
We all know this time of year can be as brutal as it is beautiful. Below we have provided a few tips to keep your pets protected this winter season:
- Wipe your dog’s paws after they have been outside in the snow. Pay special attention to removing snow clumps from between the toes. Check their paws, nose, and ears frequently for signs of cold weather damage/frost bite: cracked, bleeding, or even discolored areas.
- Frequent trips from the warm house to the cold outdoors may cause dry, flaky skin. Humidifying your home may help with this!*
- Cold weather may worsen certain medical conditions – like arthritis. If you know or suspect your pet has any issue of concern, bring them in today for an exam!
- Shorten walks. Tolerance to cold varies in pets as much as it does in humans. However, as a general rule it is much safer to limit the amount of time your pets spend exposed to the weather.
- Running car engines are very appealing for outdoor cats. Before you kick it in gear, honk your horn or make some sort of warning noise to shoo them.
- Fur does not count as a winter coat. Very young or old dogs or dogs with certain medical conditions may have difficulty regulating their body temperature. Consider dressing them up in coats or booties.
- Outdoor cats need protection too. Easy and cheap shelters can be made from plastic storage bins. There are many templates online. A1Remember outdoor food and water is also susceptible to the elements. Monitor containers for freezing.
- SALT. Please be aware of where your pets are walking. Most commercial road salts are not pet safe; do not allow your pets to ingest them. They pose health risks and may even damage or irritate your pets’ feet or the inside of their mouth.
- ANTIFREEZE smells and tastes very sweet, therefore is deceptively enticing for many pets. Even a small amount can be fatal. You may initially notice your pets acting “drunk” or behaving oddly. These symptoms may last 12-24 hours. After that there have been reports of transient “recovery”. Do not be fooled. The toxins are still damaging the organs, especially the kidneys. Emergency medical intervention is required immediately if antifreeze ingestion is suspected.