Seasonal Tips To Keep Your Pet Safe

The holiday season is the time to spend time frolicking with your family outside. You can enjoy sledding and building snowmen during the day and snuggling by the fire at night. But sharing winter fun with your pets presents some dangerous challenges for your furry family members. In areas of the country where the temperatures are cold and the weather can be snowy, these conditions can get extremely dangerous for pets, especially for those that aren’t used to the cold. Additionally, many common cold-weather products have the potential of being poisonous. Keep these tips close at hand to assist you in keeping the harsh weather months safe for all of your pets:

  • Watch out for various automotive fluids – Antifreeze and windshield washer fluid are both very hazardous to your animals health. Always avoid pools of antifreeze and window washer fluid while spending time outdoors with your pooch. Keep pets out of your garage, sheds that contain lawnmowers and other areas where automotive fluids may be present. The ASPCA suggests never using products that contain ethylene glycol. Look for those that contain propylene glycol, a much safer alternative instead.
  • Keep paws free of deicing compounds – Products that are used to melt ice create a risk getting imbedded in your pet’s paws and they may resort to licking the affected area in an attempt to remove it. Their paw pads may also incur bleeding from the snow or from encrusted ice. Providing your pet with a pair of booties is a good measure if you plan to take your dog on walks where you may encounter de-iced roads or sidewalks. Wiping off paws, as well as legs and stomach is a good safety measure when you bring them in out of the cold.
  • Rodent poison is an additional threat – When temperatures drop there is a strong likelihood that you may see an increase of mice entering your domicile. This is almost a certainty if you reside in a more rural area. Even if you live in a semi-rural area you should be on the lookout for droppings that will indicate an increase of rodent activity. While your first inclination to eliminate your residence of these unwelcome visitors would be rodent poison, which may not be in your pet’s best interest. There is always the chance that your pet will inadvertently ingest this material that could result in an emergency trip to the vet or your local animal hospital. If you attempt to eradicate rodents on your own, use approved humane measures. If you use glue traps, be sure to place them where your pet can’t access them. When letting your dog or cat outside, be sure to visually inspect the area for dead rodents, As much as possible, try to keep your pet indoors for the winter months to lessen the chance of harm.
  • Keep your vet on speed-dial – The moment that you suspect that your animal might have possibly ingested something poisonous, immediately call your veterinarian. Every minute counts.
  • Keep an eye on the thermometer – Dogs with short coats and our feline friends do not handle frigid temperatures well, at all. Even breeds that are on the furrier side, such as Malamutes and Huskies can experience difficulty if not provided adequate shelter. When the weather turns cold, damp and snowy, bring your pets indoors. If you care for ‘working dogs,’ provide adequate shelter with lots of straw or wood chips to provide a source of warm bedding. Pets that spend their time primarily indoors should not sleep on the floor, but rather elevated from drafts. Employing a nice bed for your cat, with a warm blanket is the best scenario to keep your pet comfortable and healthy. While most of us are aware how easy it is for us humans to develop hypothermia and frostbite, we should not lose sight of that fact that although it is more rare, our furry friends are also susceptible to these ever-present winter dangers.
  • Cats and cars don’t mix – After you park your vehicle, engine heat can be present for quite a while, which will definitely attract any cat looking for a warm, cozy, place to relax. Since you have no way of knowing that your cat might be basking in the warmth, there is a serious risk of bodily harm the very next time you start your car. Keeping your cat indoors, and always banging on the hood and honking your horn before ever starting your engine are good precautions against harming your feline friend.

Employing these common-sense precautions will go a long way toward reducing the winter threats. Winter can be a fun time of the year for both you and your pet. So grab a cup of hot chocolate, a soft blanket, snuggle up by the fireplace and enjoy getting comfortable indoors with your loving pets.


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