Brrr…it’s cold outside! The winter months can be brutally cold, and even bring on some snow. Though it may be fun for us there are hidden dangers that follow with cold weather and snow. The following tips will help keep your pet safe, healthy, and happy.
1) It’s best to keep your cat inside. Outdoor cats can freeze, become lost or be stolen, and injured or killed.
2) Cats that stay outside during the cold season tend to crawl into car engines or vents to stay warm. Be sure to bang on the hood of your car before starting up your engine to give the cat a chance to escape.
3) Thoroughly wipe off your dog’s legs, feet and stomach when they come in out of the snow or ice. They can ingest salt, antifreeze or other dangerous chemicals while licking their paws. Be sure to check the pads of their feet for encrusted ice as they tend to crack from the cold. Though it might look silly,
putting boots on your dogs feet will protect it from the cold and ice.
4) Antifreeze is a deadly chemical to pets and it tastes like candy if they manage to find some. If your car leaks any fluids, be sure to wash it down so your animals don’t get into it. When out on walks, be sure that your pet does not get into other driveways that may have antifreeze spills.
5) Dogs should not be shaved down to the skin during the winter months. The more fur they have the warmer they will be. For short coated breeds they should always wear a coat or sweater when they go outside. If you bathe your dog during the winter, be sure to dry them off completely before they go outside.
6) Never leave your pet in the car during cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death.
7) Puppies should not be left outside during cold winter months. They are not as tolerant of the cold as adult dogs. Paper-training is a good idea during the cold months when they are having a difficult time adjusting to weather.
8) When your dog spends most of their time outside be sure to increase their food so they can store the proper amount of fat to stay warm.
9) Be sure that your pet has a warm place to sleep if left outside for any amount of time. Dog’s should have a dog house, straw or blankets placed inside and around the opening, and the area should be kept as dry as possible. They should also have clean water at all times. If their water is constantly freezing into one big ice cube then be sure to change it frequently through out the day.
10) When the temperature gets below freezing, bring your pet inside! Even with thick fur they can be intolerant to the cold and wind and are prone to hypothermia and even frostbite.
Holidays can be a time of joy, fun, laughter, and good times. But not every member of the family will be able to partake in the festivities. There are many hazards when it comes to the holidays. Each year during the various holiday seasons, thousands of pets are seriously injured and/or become deathly ill. As your family gathers to celebrate the upcoming holidays, keep in mind the dangers that could potentially exist for your 4-legged friends.
The following tips will help to keep your pet safe during the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years holidays.
1) Securely anchor your Christmas tree so it doesn’t fall over. You may even want to put some kind of barrier around the tree when you are not able to watch your pet around it. Tree water, soil, and even the pine needles can be dangerous if ingested.
2) There are many dangers for a pet that might be around a tree. Ornaments, tinsel, icicle decorations, ribbon, angel hair (spun glass), snow globes (some contain antifreeze), electric lights and cords, and metal ornament hooks can all be chewed, broken and even ingested which can cause serious problems for your pet. Be sure to make these items as inaccessible as you can. Constantly watch your pet around these and when you can’t, place them in a crate or another room so there are no accidents.
3) Make sure that your pet does not try to steal food from the table while the family is feasting. If they refuse to stay away from the food when told to do so then place them in a crate or another room until the food has been put away. Also be sure that the entire family, including the children, knows NOT to feed the pets any food they should not get. Some food hazards that could be dangerous for your pet are: poultry bones (they splinter easily and become logged in the intestines); meats with drippings, seasonings, turkey and ham will upset digestive systems; chocolate is toxic and dark chocolate is more likely to cause death in your pet as there are ingredients that are lethal to them; candy and candy wrappers; alcoholic beverages.
4) Poinsettias, mistletoe, holly and berries, ivy, balsam, juniper, cedar, pine, fir, and hibiscus are all poisonous to your pet. Although they look great for decorating, all it takes is your pet getting a hold of one item and you’re rushing them off to the vet.
5) Keep the fireplace barricaded during the colder days. It’s great to be able to enjoy a warm fire in the fireplace but be sure your pet does not come anywhere around it as they may get burned by flying sparks and ashes.
6) Be aware of all candles as they can get knocked over or come in close contact with your pet if not on high shelves and spark a fire or burn your pet.
7) Be sure that you and your entire family have their medications put away some place safe. Any medications that are left out are fair game as food for your pet.
8) In case your pet becomes too overwhelmed by the crowd and noise be sure to have a quiet area set aside just for them so they can get away from it all.
9) Confetti thrown on New Years can be ingested by your pet and noisy poppers can terrify pets causing possible ear damage.
10) Feeding your pet any food that is not specifically made for pets can be potentially dangerous. It’s best not to feed your pet the same things you are eating during your holiday celebration. Specific foods such as onions, grapes, raisins and chocolate are poisonous to your pet.
11) Turkey, sage, bread dough, cake, and other baking ingredients should not be given to your pet for any reason. Accidental ingestion is okay as long as they don’t swallow a large amount. Constantly keep a watchful eye on your pet and when you know you can’t, place them in a crate or another room.
With these tips in place you can make your winter, and holidays enjoyable for the entire family.
To get some travel and boarding safety tips, visit the Pet Travel and Boarding page.