If you’re a pet owner like me, you know that as winter approaches so do new dangers to your pets. Just as we take extra steps to ensure our own health & safety during the winter season we must also protect our pets, especially if you live in a region where winters are cold. Winter brings new hazards like antifreeze for example that can be both intriguing and deadly! Below are some cold weather tips to keep you and your pets healthy and safe through the winter.
Keep Them Warm
Just because your dog may have fur, they still need a warm escape from the cold. No matter how thick your dog’s coat is, a warm shelter should always be accessible. If you own a small dog or a dog with little fur at all it might be a good idea to invest in a doggy “sweater” or “jacket” accompanied with some “boots”! The most important thing here is to keep them warm!
Keep Harmful Materials Out of Reach
There are many dangerous materials for the curious dog or cat to get into, but as the cold weather comes there are a few that we needed to be extra aware of. The first and probably most important chemical to keep your pets safe from is antifreeze. Antifreeze is a chemical additive which lowers the freezing point of water and water-
Keep Your Dog on a Leash
Ice, sleet and snow make it more difficult for animals to track a scent and find their way home if they get lost. Make sure your pet always wears an ID tag and if possible a microchip registered with a national database, so he can be easily returned. Your dog should never be outside off a leash in any case, but it’s even more important in winter conditions. If you find a lost or stray pet, please call your local animal control or nearest animal shelter.
Dry Their Paws & Brush Them after Outside Time
Ice and snow can pack into your dog’s paws, and coat. Be sure to Dry their paws, and remove any compacted snow. This snow can contain harmful materials such as antifreeze, salt, melting agents, etc…that can be harmful to your pets and you. Same applies to the snow that gets compacted in your dog’s coat, especially if they have longer fur. Snow tends to “ball up” and pack in fur, so be sure to get out that brush and get rid of all compacted snow, not only will it get rid of any harmful materials, but it’ll keep them warm as well.
Check Your Engine
If your car is accessible to animals in the cold winter you may want to lift you hood before starting. This can be quite annoying, and you can simply bang on the hood to wake anything sleeping in there. Stray cats especially will use a hot engine for warmth, and if they or other small animals happen to fall asleep in there things could get “messy” come start–up time.
Secure Your Ornaments
Ornaments, metal ornament hangers, tinsel, and any other holiday decoration can look like perfect toys to your pets. Make sure all decorations no matter the size are secured to ensure your curious critters don’t chew or swallow items that might be dangerous. Additionally, keep holiday cookies, candy bowls, and other goods out of reach as they have the potential to make your pets very sick.
Choose Holiday Plants Carefully
Although beautiful, some holiday plants are toxic to dogs. You should avoid holly, amaryllis, mistletoe, poinsettia, Christmas and Thanksgiving cactus, American and European bittersweet, chrysanthemum, Christmas rose, Jerusalem cherry, autumn crocus, and burning bush. They can cause vomiting, diarrhea, depression, lack of appetite, tremors, belly pain, difficulty breathing, shock, organ damage, slowed heart rate, collapse, and even death.
Don’t Feed Them from the Table
You may have the urge to share your yummy feast with your pet. This is ok in moderation. Just check the list of toxic foods for pets before you feed them. Avoid fat and fatty foods that can trigger pancreatitis in dogs and cats, and never feed your dog poultry bones. They easily splinter and break and can cause serious damage if swallowed.
Try to Get Rid of Rodents Naturally
In fall and winter, mice and rats come flocking indoors to warmer surroundings. Putting out rodenticides gets rid of rodents, but could also be fatal to dogs and cats. There are four different types of poison and each has the potential to kill your pet: anticoagulants, cholecalciferol, bromethalin, and phosphides.
Is Your Dog or Cat Allergic
Fall weather can bring about all whole new set of allergies. Ragweed and mold are two big aggravates, along with grass and dust. Look for signs like scratching, biting, chewing, sneezing, coughing, watery eyes, and hives and rashes.
This list of ten will help you keep your pet safe through the winter and holiday seasons, but remember it’s a list of only ten. Please be sure to be extra diligent with the safety of your pets through the season. If you notice any changes in your pet’s behavior, be sure to contact you veterinary office immediately.
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