Top 5 Winter Dangers to Your Pet and How to Avoid Them

Winter is finally here in full swing. There are dangers that come with winter that can sicken or even kill a beloved pet. Below are the top five tips that can help keep your pet safe during these winter months.

1. Protect your pets against the cold.
Cats and dogs should be brought inside if the weather conditions are extremely cold or snowy. Please stay outside with your furry friend if he or she needs to go outside to eliminate. Frostbite can develop on the feet or on the tips of the ears if your pet becomes too cold. Once you get in, be sure to clean any ice and “snow balls” from your pets coat and feet. Even worse than frostbite, if the temperature is very low, hypothermia could develop. In this situation, the body temperature becomes extremely low and the pet will show signs of depression and weakness. Severe cases can result in death. Under these circumstances he or she should be brought to your regular veterinarian immediately, or to the animal ER if your regular veterinarian is closed.

2. Protect your pet against salt and ice.
When you come in from walking in the cold, be sure to clean the ice and salt from your dog’s feet. Dogs can get irritation of their pads when they walk on the ice and salt. Salt especially is very irritating. Be sure to use the “pet safe” salt on your own property. When you are out walking with your pet, your pet is likely to come in contact with salt that is not “pet-safe.” When you get home, be sure to clean the ice and salt from your pet’s feet. If your pet will tolerate them, consider getting booties to protect against salt and ice.

3. Protect your pets against anti-freeze and other poisons.
At this time of year people often change the anti-freeze in their car. Anti-freeze has a sweet taste that can attract animals, but it is extremely toxic to them and even small amounts can kill them. Symptoms may not show up for a few days. Wipe up spills right away and store anti-freeze and other household chemicals in tightly closed containers and keep them out of reach. If you see your pet lick up any of this, don’t wait-get them to the ER immediately.

4. Protect pets from fan belt injuries.
Warm car engines can attract cats and small wildlife that may crawl up under the hood to sleep. Before starting your car in the winter, it’s a good idea to bang on the car’s hood and honk the horn to scare them away before starting your engine. Do this just in case there’s a pet or other animal in there.

5: Protect your pets from dangerous foods.
Valentine’s Day is coming up and people often have chocolate around the house. The sugar-free sweetener called xylitol and macadamia nuts may also be in these treats. Both are toxic to pets. Keep items containing chocolate, xylitol or macadamia nuts out of reach. And be sure to keep them in closed containers…dogs have a very keen sense of smell!

Even in the best of circumstances and with due diligence, things can happen and your pet may get into trouble. If you experience any of these dangers, be sure to call your veterinarian immediately.

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