Friday, January 25, 2013

Winter Safety for Pets

Winter has arrived in many places and with it there are some special concerns for pets. When the temperatures fall please remember that your pets are feeling cold, too. Do not leave them outside for extended periods. Please bring them indoors where it's warm and safe. Not only can pets get frostbite but there are other dangers lurking.

Alana snuggles in bed on a cold winter  day.
Photo copyright by her owner, Claire Clayton

Did you know that leaving your four-legged companion in your car on a cold day is just as dangerous as doing it on a hot day? Pets need to be where it's safe and warm.

Cats and small dogs will loose body heat rapidly.  Your little dog needs a warm sweater or coat, as does    any dog or cat who is either hairless or has a very little hair, such as the Greyhound, Whippet, Chinese Crested and from the cat family, the Sphynx, come readily to mind.

If you're walking your dog please remember that he is essentially walking barefoot. If the place where  you walk uses ice melt on the roads, be sure to wash off the pads of your dog's feet when you get home. If he licks his paws he can ingest the ice melt sticking to his paws. Both you and your dog can track it into the house which would also expose your cat to ice melt.  You can buy a non-poisonous ice melt to use on your own property but your town or city will not be using that product.  They will use a less expensive and it will be dangerous to pets.

Be very careful not to allow your pet to get into anti-Freeze. It is lethal if ingested. Unfortunately, it's very attractive to dogs since it smells and tastes sweet to them.

If you think that your pet may have ingested a poisonous substance, get him to your veterinarian as fast as you can.

Be sure your pet gets his exercise while indoors. You can think up creative, fun and safe games to play. One of the best things you can do is clicker train your dogs and cats which will allow them to exercise their minds as well as their bodies. A small dog can play fetch down a hallway and get some real exercise.

With precautions and an eye toward safety, you and your pets can enjoy the winter.