Tips For Keeping Your Pet Safe In Winter

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Photo courtesy of John Talbot

It’s cold outside. To protect ourselves, we take great care to bundle up with coats, scarves, gloves and heavy boots. Often, that’s not enough to warm us against the elements.  Just like people, pets (even those with a heavy fur coat) have an intolerance for cold weather. Here are some tips to keep your pets safe in this wintry weather:

– Only allow your pets outside for a few minutes at a time. Frostbite can occur quickly on ear tips, paws and the end of the tail.

– Put Vaseline on their pads to protect them from getting irritated from salt.  When back inside, wipe their paws and bellies–if they lick those areas, salt can be toxic.

– Use pet-friendly salt on sidewalks and steps.

– Take short haired or small dogs out in fleece lined coats or sweaters to keep their core warm.

– Use dog booties.

– Keep your pets on leash.  Pets often get disoriented in the snow– it blocks scents normally used to find their way home.

– Do not leave your pet in a parked car.  Small pets can freeze to death within an hour.

– Give your pet a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from drafts.

– Young, ill or old pets are extra sensitive to the cold.  Take them outdoors only long enough to relieve themselves.

– Outdoor cats sometimes sleep under the hoods of cars.  When the motor is started, the cat can be injured or killed by the fan belt. Bang loudly on the hood of your car before starting the engine to give a cat a chance to escape.

– Horse owners: give your horses access to a barn or three-sided run-in to escape the wind and cold.  Blanketing a horse will help it stay warm and dry.  Give your horses access to unfrozen water and give it more forage during extreme cold to create heat and regulate body temperature.

– Keep antifreeze out of reach of pets and clean up any spills from your vehicle.  It is a lethal poison for dogs and cats.

– Avoid frozen ponds, lakes and other water.  The ice may give way under your pet’s weight.

– Recognize problems: if your pet begins to whine, shiver, starts looking for a place to burrow, seems weak, take them inside immediately.  These may be signs of hypothermia.

Remember, if you are cold, your pet is cold!

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Posted on February 23, 2015, in Pet Care: Dogs, Pet Safety and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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