Wintertime Safety Tips for Dogs and Cats can be challenging, but to keep our dogs and cats healthy and happy you should know the following. The cold weather often brings a slew of potential problems to avoid when it comes to keeping Fido and Fluffy out of trouble. Dr. Carol Osborne, DVM offers a few essential safety tips to get your furry friend through these frigid months without a trip to the vet’s office.
- Antifreeze, which is Ethylene Glycol, is deadly for pets! It also smells and tastes good to pets. Less than four teaspoons may be lethal for a ten-pound dog. A single teaspoon can be fatal to cats.
- Propylene glycol is a less toxic form of antifreeze and can be used instead of ethylene glycol. The brand is called “Sierra.” It works just as well in your car but is much less toxic to your pet.
- Keep your pets out of the area you’re in when you change and/or drain antifreeze from your car.
- Check your car regularly for radiator leaks as they also contain antifreeze
- Clean up any spills immediately and thoroughly
- Store in tightly closed containers and keep it in secured cabinets.
- If you think your pet has consumed antifreeze, this is a true life or death emergency! Go to your vet ASAP and call ahead while you are on your way!
- Ice Melting Products like Rock salt and De-icing chemicals are irritating to skin, mouth and your pet’s paws and footpads. Spritz your pet’s feet off with water when they come back inside is helpful. Signs of ingestion include excessive drooling, depression and vomiting.
- Rat and Mouse baits are usually used more often in cold weather. Place baits in areas inaccessible to your pets. Peanut butter baits smell good are tasty to pets. Save labels and if think it’s been eaten by your pet, call their office and drive to your vet, ASAP. Most pets are treated with Vitamin K therapy and recover.
- Feed your pet a little extra when it’s cold. Pets need extra calories to produce energy during cold weather.
- Provide your pet with plenty of freshwaters to avoid dehydration. Warm up the water and add a little honey or a bouillon cube to stimulate 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 pet inside when it’s very cold and if he’s out for a while, be sure to provide proper shelter with bedding and a wind flap.
- Groom your dog regularly to remove mats. This helps his coat provide proper insulation so he or she can stay warm.
- Frostbite risk areas include your pet’s ears, nose, tip of the tail and ears. Frostbitten area of skin initially turn a reddish color then becomes gray. To Treat Frostbite: give your pet a warm bath and wrap him or her up in warm towels. Don’t rub an area that has frostbite!
- Monitor heat lights and heating pads as they can get too warm quickly and can cause skin burns.
- Cats enjoy hiding under your car’s hood near warm engines. Before starting your car this winter, look under your hood and honk your horn.
- Watch out for frozen lakes, rivers and ponds. Pets can easily slip and fall in frozen water.
- Be sure your pet is healthy as pets like people are more susceptible to health issues in cold weather.
Always be prepared and remember the best Safety Tips gift of all is your LOVE!