Most pet owners understand the safety risks to pets that extremely hot weather poses. However, fewer understand the potential problems that winter weather can cause. Though it is important to understand and prevent heatstroke in the summer months, there are many potential issues that can occur in winter. The vast majority of people brush off these concerns, due to the fact that most pets have fur coats. Understanding the problems that your pet may face during the winter months can go a long way toward keeping your pets comfortable and healthy in cold temperatures. If you are ever unsure how to optimize your pets’ health, contact us at Borrett Animal Hospital! Ensure that you know the condition of your pet’s health and carefully monitor them. Schedule an appointment with us to keep your pet’s healthy. Here are a few safety tips for your pets.
Protect their Paws
There are multiple ways that you can protect the paws of your pets. For example, using specific booties or coverings can help to keep the paws warm and comfortable. In addition, many substances that frequently appear on the ground during winter weather, such as salt, can irritate the pads of a pet’s paws. Ensure that you always wipe your pet’s paws off when you go back inside after a walk. Not only can this prevent these substances from damaging the paws, but it can also help the paws to warm up more quickly. Regularly check your pet’s paws for signs of dryness, cracking, and irritation.
Watch for Signs of Frostbite
Despite their fur coats, pets are still susceptible to frostbite when the temperatures drop lower. This is especially true with smaller pets or pets with short hair. Pay careful attention to your pets when you are outside in cold weather. Some signs of frostbite may not occur for several days, though others will be more obvious. Pay attention to the behaviors of your pet, especially if they are shivering or cold to the touch. You may also want to consider using jackets made for your pets to provide them with an additional layer of protection against the cold.
Keep them away from Antifreeze
Antifreeze is an incredibly dangerous substance for pets. It is present in automobiles and may become accessible to pets when the vehicle leaks. Antifreeze attracts animals, as it both smells and tastes sweet, but it is incredibly toxic. Keep an eye out for the presence of antifreeze and learn the symptoms of antifreeze poisoning. A pet may begin to show symptoms in as little as 30 minutes after consuming antifreeze. There are many symptoms that can occur in the early stages of antifreeze poisoning and it is incredibly important to act quickly if you suspect that your pet has ingested antifreeze. If your pet exhibits a loss of coordination, drooling, seizures, excessive thirst, vomiting, or excessive urination, you should contact us immediately! These symptoms may appear to go away roughly 12 hours after consumption, but antifreeze is still doing extreme amounts of damage to the pet’s organs.
Consider their Age
Keep the age of your pets in mind when you consider the best ways to protect your pet during cold months. Just like with humans, pets that are very young or very old will have less effective immune systems. They will also be less able to regulate the temperature of their bodies. Try to keep young or old pets out of the cold temperatures as much as possible. However, even with more moderately aged pets, you still need to pay close attention to their behavior to ensure that they aren’t getting too cold.
Be Careful When Starting your Car
A warm car engine can be an attractive sight to a cold outdoor cat. It is very common for cats to curl up on engines in order to stay warm and comfortable. Before starting your car, you should gently bang on the hood of the car. This will help frighten the cats away before they can be injured by the car. If you have an outdoor cat, you should consider bringing them inside during the winter months. Consider providing a sheltered area where stray cats can stay dry and warm. It is also important to refrain from ever leaving your pets alone in the car. Cars can trap cold inside, which can make them very dangerous environments for pets. Remain very aware when operating a vehicle in cold weather.
Use a Leash
No matter how well trained your dog is, the winter is no time for off-leash walks. Visibility is often lessened in the winter months, which can make pets more vulnerable to drivers that can’t see clearly. Pets may also be less cautious than they should be when it comes to frozen surfaces. A dog that is allowed to be off of their leash may run on thin ice, which can be incredibly dangerous if the ice breaks. Keeping your pet leashed can go a long way toward keeping them safe in poor weather conditions and cold temperatures.
Preparation can significantly help to protect your pet during the winter months. You never know when a severe storm might hit, so it is vital to ensure that you are prepared for the possibility of being stuck in your home. Ensure that you have extra food and are prepared for any possibility. Never wait until the last minute to obtain the things that your pet needs. This is especially important if your pet is on medications that are vital for their health. Prepare a supply of emergency materials in case any issues should arise.
Though many pets have fur coats to keep them warm, the winter can still significantly disrupt their health. Understanding how to keep your pets safe will help to provide them with a comfortable, healthy, and happy winter season. Preparation can substantially help to prevent winter weather from wreaking havoc on your pet’s life. To learn more about how to keep your pet healthy over the winter, contact us at Borrett Animal Hospital today!