Winter can be a dangerous time of year for all pets. Especially pets that are kept outdoors. Temperatures drop to below freezing and dangerous chemicals can harm or even kill pets. Everybody loves their pets and wants to keep them safe and comfortable so, here are a few helpful tips to protect your pets during the winter months.
Keep Pets Warm
Frostbite and hypothermia can be deadly for your furry friends and can happen quicker than you think. According to The Washington Post, anything below 25 degrees Fahrenheit can be life-threatening to a small, short-haired dog. Make sure to put a sweater on your pup when going outside below these temperatures and keep walks short.
If you have an outdoor pet, bring them in if temperatures drop below freezing. A safe rule to go by is "If it's too cold for you, it's too cold for them." For the rest of the winter days, provide an outdoor shelter and lay hay inside to add insulation. Also, provide a heated water dish, so their water does not freeze over.
Give Your Pet Plenty of Food and Water
When it is cold outside, our bodies burn more calories to keep us warm. The same thing happens with our pets. Feed your pet slightly more food during the winter months, particularly if your pet is an outdoor pet. Along with feeding them more, give your pets more water as well. This will help keep their skin from getting flaky and itchy due to drier conditions.
Watch Out for Rock Salt
Rock salt is thrown all over streets and sidewalks to melt ice that can be dangerous for you. However, rock salt can be harmful to your pet's paws. The little rocks can get pushed up into your pet's paws while on walks and actually burn their paw pads. When coming back inside from your walks, check their paws for any salt and remove it. You can also try out dog boots!
Prevent Antifreeze Poisoning
Antifreeze is highly toxic to animals and they can easily ingest it. All it takes is a leak from your vehicle and your pet can lick it up off the ground or get it on their paws, which they later lick clean. In order to catch antifreeze poisoning, Dr. Karen Becker says to check for these 3 signs:
- Within 30 minutes to 12 hours after, check for staggering, excessive thirst, and vomiting.
- Obvious signs calm and internal damage is taking place.
- Kidney failure takes place with signs like loss of appetite, weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures.
If you notice any of these signs, take your pet to the vet as soon as possible. The earlier it can be detected, the more likely they are to survive. Dr. Karen Becker also says to check for antifreeze products with propylene glycol, which is much safer than the alternative ethylene glycol.
Check Your Vehicle Before Taking Off
Small animals love to climb up into the underneath of vehicles when it is cold outside. The engine provides warmth for them and shelter from winds. Before starting your car, make some sort of loud noises to scare off any kitties that may have climbed into your vehicle. This could be honking your horn, hitting the outside of the car, or a quick sound of your car alarm.
Prevent Your Pet From Getting Lost
Losing your pet is already a terrifying experience, especially when it is freezing outside. In order to get them back to you as soon as possible, microchip and tag your pet. A microchip is a tiny implant that can be scanned at vet offices and shelters with your information on it. Some microchips even let you send out a "lost dog" notification so that anyone else on the app can be on the lookout.
For more information on how to protect your pet during the winter, contact us! We would be happy to help you with further instruction.