Winter Pet Safety

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For The Love of Animals

Most pets enjoy being outside and playing in the snow. It is also a time of real hazards. Here are a few tips to help make sure your pet is kept safe this winter both inside and outside.

Avoid Pet Burns
Be sure to keep pets away from fire places and other heating surfaces. When stoking a fire, keep pets away. A single burning ember or a hot poker can cause severe burns. A jumping cat, wagging tail, or running dogs can easily knock a candle over. Be sure the candle is heavy enough to stay put, and that it has a dome on it to keep pets safe.

Cars and Pets Don't Mix
The ethylene glycol in antifreeze is extremely toxic and can be fatal, even in small doses. There are many brands of antifreeze made with propylene glycol (reduces both the toxicity and flavour appeal) which are safer around pets and wildlife. Be sure to cap the jug tightly and keep out of the reach of children and curious pets.

Cats are known to warm up next to a warm engine. This can be fatal when the engine is started and the cat is hit by the vehicle's fan. Blowing the horn and bang on your car's hood before starting the engine will often scare a cat away.

Dangerous Weather Elements
Frostbite can happen when your pet is exposed to freezing cold temperatures, especially if accompanied by high winds. Frostbitten areas may appear gray, white, or red, and may peel. Paws, ears, tail and nose are most likely to be affected by frostbite. If frostbite is suspected, the frostbitten area should be soaked in warm water for 20 minutes. Don't rub the frostbitten tissue. As soon as the pet has warmed up, wrap him in blankets and bring him immediately to the nearest veterinarian.

Make sure to keep your dog warm by putting a sweater or coat on them if they have short hair or are small. Also, animals that suffer from medical conditions such as heart disease or kidney disease etc are less able to regulate their body heat. Pets that are very old or young are also more vulnerable to the cold.

The salt used to melt ice on driveways and sidewalks can burn your dogs paws. He could also suffer from diarrhea and vomiting if he licks his paws and ingests some of the salt. Your dogs paws and stomach should be wiped with warm water and a damp cloth after being outdoors in treated snow to remove any salt and other chemicals. Products such as Invisible Boot, or actual dog boots, also help to protect your dogs paws from the salt and ice.

Arthritis
Just like people, arthritis in pets is aggravated by the cold weather. A thick blanket wrapped around a hot water bottle, warm rice or oat bag can be helpful.

Dry, Irritated Skin
Animals can suffer from dry, itchy skin due to indoor heating during the winter months, just like humans. Essential fatty acid supplements can help some pets, but in the case of extreme irritation that causes a pet to scratch and bite at his skin to the point of opening sores, consult a veterinarian.

Courtesy of Marilyn Murray ~ For The Love of Animals