Keeping Pets Safe in the Winter

Winter is here!  We know that summer and dehydration can be dangerous to pets. However, the record lows between November and March are possibly even more dangerous for our cats and dogs. The colder temps bring snow, ice, and wind that can place your pet at risk. Review our pet winter safety tips to keep both of you happy until the first crocuses pop up this spring.

Long Nights

Winter brings long, dark nights. If your pet is outside during the evening or early morning hours, please keep visibility in mind. It’s hard for drivers to spot an animal that darts into the road, especially one with a dark coat. Consider purchasing a reflective or illuminated collar or harness, reflective patches, or even a glow jacket to support your pet’s wellness.

Speaking of accessories, you may want to purchase a warm jacket, vest, and set of boots to insulate and protect your pet’s coat and paws.

The Importance of Comfort

Depending on breed, size, coat, age, and general health, your pet may be more prone to hypothermia if outside for a long period of time. Even if you don’t have a small, infirm, or senior pet, double up on the blankets and provide a soft, warm place for your pet to relax. If you have strictly outdoor pets, make sure they have access to fresh water and dry shelter at all times.

Temperature extremes are especially tough on pets with arthritis or other age-related health problems. Let us know if you need help with your pet’s pain management plan.

An Unsafe Haven

An important tenet of winter pet safety is remembering to tap the hood of your car or honk your horn before starting the engine. An unsuspecting feline could take refuge under the hood, and even though the fading heat from the engine block doesn’t seem ideal to us, it’s better than nothing for pets left outdoors.

If you notice stray cats in your neighborhood, it’s a good idea to read up on how you can help them with winter pet safety protocol.

Winter Toxins

Winter pet safety also includes keeping your pet away from any dangerous chemicals. Rock salt, also known as ice melt, is very popular for slippery steps and sidewalks, but it can lead to painful problems for your pet.

The minerals in rock salt are extremely harsh to paw pads, leading to dryness, cracking, and sensitivity. In addition, pets are inclined to try to lick it off their paws, and ingesting rock salt can result in the following:

  • Nausea
  • Upset stomach
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Tremors
  • Disorientation
  • Seizures
  • Increased thirst
  • Death

Always wash and dry your pet’s paws after walking on rock salt. Better yet, get those pet booties out of the closet!

Lastly, antifreeze can be lethal to your pet, even in small doses. Restrict access to stored bottles in your garage or areas on the ground where it tends to pool.

If you suspect your pet has been exposed to any winter chemicals, please call us immediately.

A+ in Winter Pet Safety

Freezing temperatures present unique challenges, and preparation and forethought are critical to preventing accidents and emergencies. Please let us know if you have questions or concerns, and above all, stay warm this winter!