While the calendar says it’s only September, winter will be here before you know it. Winter has a way of bringing with it a whole new set of concerns for our pets; extreme temperatures, icy conditions, and additional toxins that are associated with cold weather, like anti-freeze. Although it’s still a few months away, we think it’s important to share these reminders on winter safety tips for our pets.
WINTER SAFETY TIPS
A number of different pet organizations, such as the AVMA, ASPCA and the Humane Society have published tips on winter pet safety over the years. We have the utmost respect for each of these organizations and believe that each are a great resource to seek out when needing pet advice. Below, is a compilation of tips from each of these organizations for keeping our pets safe during the winter.
- Wellness: Winter can aggravate certain physical conditions, such as Arthritis. If you have an older pet who suffers from Arthritis, make sure he is up-to-date on his exams and consult with your vet regarding any medications he may need during the winter.
- Know your pet’s limits: Smaller animals have less tolerance for cold temperatures than larger animals, so know what your pet can tolerate. Also, if you own large animals, such as horses, make sure they have a warm barn to go into in order to get away from the cold.
- Wipe their paws: If you take your dog for a walk, make sure that you wipe his or her paws before bringing them back in the house. Anti-freeze is a common toxin that finds its way on the ground during the winter months, so make sure that your pet’s paws have been adequately wiped off in case he comes in contact with it. If he licks his paws, that can be dangerous.
- Check your hood: During the cold winter months, outdoor cats often seek warmth in the hood of vehicles. If you own a cat or know there are cats roaming your neighborhood, be sure and check under the hood of your car before starting it. Banging on the hood, honking the horn or lifting the hood to check for cats are all effective ways to prevent a cat from getting severely injured or killed when you start your engine.
- Avoid the ice: Make sure your pet stays away from frozen ponds. Falling through the ice can be deadly for your pet.
- Watch for symptoms: Keep an eye on your pet for symptoms such as weakness, shivering or whimpering. These could be signs of hypothermia. If you notice any odd symptoms, contact your vet immediately.
- Use a leash: Make sure that your pet is always leashed when away from home; even if you are not far away from home. The snow-covered ground can make it difficult for your pet to find their way home should they get away from you. Also, snow can make it difficult for your pet to see the boundaries of your yard; he may wander into the street not realizing where he is.
- Be Prepared: Finally, winter weather can be very un-predictable. Make sure your household is prepared with extra supplies, including pet food, should you be confined to your home for any length of time.
Here in the Puget Sound, we don’t typically get a lot of extreme weather during the winter months, but sometimes we do get hit with the occasional winter snow-storm. Having these tips handy, will help you be prepared for any situation.