This past week’s snow and very cold temperatures served as a good reminder that winter is here! Have you thought about what steps you should take to keep your pets warm and safe during the cold weather? Each pet will be unique in what they can tolerate in winter weather. A good thing to remember is that if it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for them! If temperatures drop below freezing, you should bring pets indoors – even those pets who usually spend all their time outside. Pets who are young, old, or have underlying medical conditions may have additional troubles tolerating winter weather.
Winter weather can pose some unique hazards for your pets. Here are some ways to make sure your pets are safe this winter season:
Protection from the Cold and the Elements:
- Never leave your pet unattended in an automobile, especially in the cold.
- Jackets and sweaters can provide additional warmth for small pets or short-coated breeds.
- If you typically have your pet groomed, don’t shave them down to the skin in winter months.
- Booties are great for providing warmth, minimizing contact with chemicals and ice melt products, and minimizing risk of injury from ice or snow.
- Reduce the time your pet spends outside in severe or cold weather.
- Towel dry wet pets when they come back inside (and be sure to remove any ice/snow accumulations)
Protection from Winter Hazards:
- Antifreeze is toxic to pets. The toxic component is ethylene glycol, and animals are attracted to the substance because it has a sweet flavor. Clean up any antifreeze leaks or spills promptly.
- Cats and other animals looking for warmth might climb under the hood of a parked car. Prior to starting your car, check under the car and make noise (honk your horn, bang on the hood).
- Ice melting products can cause skin irritation. Additionally, animals who groom the chemicals off their skin or ingest the substance from the ground can experience toxic effects. Do not allow pets to ingest ice melting products.
For more information about cold weather safety, visit our ‘Paws to Protect’ page focusing on cold weather. Do you have a question about how to keep your pet safe in the winter weather? Give us a call – we are here to help!
Author: Dr. C. Noureddine, DVM, MS