Each year as the seasons change, outdoor temperatures drop and the snow starts to fly, it’s a good time for pet owners to refresh their Wintertime Pet Health Quotient (HQ) so their dogs and cats can all enjoy the slopes and season safely. Antifreeze, in which Ethylene Glycol, is the active ingredient is deadly for pets! Antifreeze smells good and apparently is also quite tasty to many dogs and cats. A tablespoon of antifreeze is all that’s needed to kill a ten pound dog. A single teaspoon of antifreeze often ends with fatal results for cats.
- Propylene glycol, the active ingredient in a type of antifreeze called “Sierra” is a less toxic to pets if ingested and works just as well as ethylene glycol for your car.
- Be sure to keep your pets out of the area you’re in when you change and/or drain antifreeze from your vehicles.
- Remember car radiators also contain anti-freeze, so be sure your radiator is not leaking.
- Antifreeze spills must be thoroughly cleaned up and immediately eliminated from any and all areas your pets may encounter.
- Store antifreeze in tightly closed containers, kept high up out of paw reach in secured cabinets.
- Dogs and cats suspected of consuming anti-freeze, need to be taken to the vet or nearest veterinary emergency facility ASAP! Pet antifreeze consumption is a true life or death emergency!
- Time to save dogs and cats in antifreeze cases is critical! After 2-3 hours of consumption, irreversible and simultaneous pet liver and kidney failure occur, which in the vast majority of cases is lethal. Calling your vet or a local veterinary emergency facility while you’re on the way is very helpful. If possible bring along the label.
- Ice Melting Products including Rock salt and De-icing chemicals are irritating to your pet’s skin, mouth, paws and foot pads. Spritzing your pet’s feet off with warm water and patting them dry once indoors helps to eliminate this issue. Excess drooling, depression and vomiting are signs that your dog and/or cat may have ingested these products.
- Rat and Mouse baits which are often more popular in cold, rather than warm weather. They are another favorite for many pets, especially dogs. Be sure to place rodent baits in areas inaccessible to your dogs and cats. Peanut butter which is used in many baits smells good and just like antifreeze is tasty to pets.
- If you suspect your pet has eaten a bit of rodent bait, get your pet to the vet quickly. Saving bait labels and bringing them with you helps your veterinarian to administer proper therapy and can be a pet life saver. Vitamin K therapy is generally used for therapy and most pets recover without any permanent or long term, adverse health consequences.
- Feed your pet a little extra when it’s cold. Pets need extra calories to produce energy during cold weather.
- Plenty of fresh water is essential during cold weather to avoid pet dehydration. Warm up the water and add a little honey or a bouillon cube to encourage your pet to drink. Chicken noodle soup is great and most pets enjoy a bowl every now and then. Snow is not an acceptable substitute for water.
- Bring your pets inside when it’s very cold. If your dog or cat spends a lot of time outside, be sure to provide proper shelter with food, water, bedding and a wind flap.
- Groom your dog and cat regularly to remove mats. This helps your pets hair coat to properly insulate your pet so that he or she can stay warm during cold weather spells.
- Frost bite risk areas for pets include the ears, the nose, the tip of the tail and ears. Frostbitten area of pet skin initially turn a reddish color which later fades to gray. Treating Pet Frostbite involves giving your dog and/or cat a warm bath and gently wrapping them up in warm towels. Offering your pet something warm and nourishing to drink is also helpful while you wait to hear back from your vet.
- Having a thermometer on hand allows pet owners to monitor their pets condition and this information is also useful for your vet. Pet temperatures may range from 99-103, rectal temperatures in dogs and cats less than 96 degrees Fahrenheit are generally incompatible with life. Finally, remember not to rub frostbitten pet skin areas, as that makes it worse!
- Heat lights and pet heating pads must be monitored closely as many can get too warm too fast, resulting in pet skin burns in dogs, cats, puppies and kittens.
- Car engines are a favorite for many outdoor cats who enjoy curling up for the evening near warm car engines. Before starting your car this winter, take a quick look under your hood and/or honk your horn, just to be sure no unexpected feline automobile friends decided to spend the night with you.
- Frozen lakes, rivers and ponds can be quite hazardous for adventurous wintertime dogs who can easily slip and fall in frozen water. Not all dogs can swim.
- Visit your Vet to be sure your dogs and cats are healthy! Pets, like people are more susceptible to health issues in cold weather. Pets that are very young, very old, pregnant or convalescing are especially vulnerable.
Lots of Love and extra attention helps pets enjoy the holiday season. It also helps so that your dogs and cats don’t feel forgotten and/or left out of all the festivities. Let your pet get into the gift of giving this holiday season by making a donation of food, litter, or toys to your local animal shelter or favorite pet charity and put it in your pet’s name.
Be prepared this winter and remember the Best Pet Gift of all is your LOVE!
Great article. Years ago a neighbor lost their beloved Chelsea (dog) to the antifreeze accident. They were devastated that it could have been prevented. Good reminder.