Keeping Your Pets Safe from Cold and Ice
Keeping Your Pets Safe from Cold and Ice
As the weather gets colder and we start to see more snow and ice, it’s important to keep in mind how these conditions can impact our pets. Here are a few winter care tips to help keep your pet safe and healthy this season.
Protection from the Cold
When the temperature starts to drop, it’s important to take extra care of your pets.
Cozy Coats for Pets
Animals are susceptible to hypothermia just like humans, and in very cold weather, they may also experience frostbite. If they’re going to be spending any time outdoors in the cold air, make sure they’re bundled up. Dogs especially need a little extra protection in winter since they tend to spend more time outdoors doing things like winter walks. A warm sweater or coat can especially help short-haired pets feel warm any time they spend time outside.
Preventing Arthritic Pain in Animals
Arthritic pain is one of the weather-associated health risks that is exacerbated in cold weather. If your pet is older or has arthritis, it may start to feel more pain as the temperature drops. This is because cold weather causes inflammation and stiffness in the joints. If you notice your pet is having a hard time getting around or seems to be in pain, do your best to keep them warm and talk to your veterinarian about options for pain relief.
Protection from the Elements
If you live in an area that gets a lot of snow, you’ll want to take measures to ensure your pet’s safety.
Protect Dog Paws From Snow
It’s important to keep your pet in mind when shoveling driveways and sidewalks. Dogs especially love playing in the snow, but they can easily get lost in large piles of powder. Be sure to clear a path that’s big enough for your dog to get through easily and consider putting up a fence or gate if you have a lot of snowfall.
Another thing you can do to help your animals avoid irritated paws is to invest in something such as dog boots. Not only can they keep your pet’s feet dry, but they can prevent them from getting chapped paws. Some pet owners experience that it takes time for them to adjust to the feel of boots, while some pets never fully adjust. If your pet has a hard time adjusting, the animal humane society recommends using vaseline or a similar product on the bottom to increase your pet’s tolerance to cold temperatures and avoid irritated paws.
Don’t Forget to Avoid Ice
One of the biggest cold weather dangers for pets in winter is ice, not only on driveways and sidewalks but bodies of water. It can be hard for pets to tell where solid ground ends and thin ice begins, so it’s important to keep them away from bodies of water that may be frozen over. If your dog does happen to walk on thin ice, act quickly to get them out of the cold water before they have a chance to get too cold or too wet.
Protection from General Winter Hazards
There are some other hazards to consider when it comes to pets, even if they aren’t your own.
Keep Chemicals Out of Reach of Pets
As we all know, antifreeze is often used in cars during the winter months, and it is poisonous. Unfortunately, due to their curiosity, new tastes and smells attract animals and there is a danger your pet could ingest antifreeze, which can cause kidney failure in both dogs and cats. You can best protect your pets by keeping an eye out for any coolant leaks on your car or in areas where cars are parked. To do this, you’ll need to look for green, brown, or orange puddles on the ground.
Similarly, ice-melting agents can be harmful to your animals as well. Keep your pets safe by monitoring their activity after being outside and ensure they aren’t licking their paws. If you think your pet has ingested antifreeze or ice treatment chemicals, call your veterinarian immediately.
Check for Cats Before Turning on Your Car
In winter, we’re all seeking shelter from cold temperatures, and animals are no exception. To a cat, for example, your car’s engine represents the perfect heater and a great opportunity to curl up in an area with some much-needed warmth. To avoid accidentally harming an animal, whether it be a stray, your neighbor’s pet, or even your own, knock on the hood or honk your horn to scare away any cats or other animals that may be taking refuge there before starting your car.
Winter Wellness Pet Care List
We’ve covered some of the ways your animals may find themselves in danger during the winter. But what are some ways you can protect your pet this winter? We have 6 winter care tips for pet owners to help keep animals safe and healthy.
Give Your Pets a Warm Place to Rest
Make sure your pet has a warm place to sleep, preferably somewhere away from drafts so they don’t lose body heat. For outdoor pets, consider bringing them inside during extreme cold snaps.
Provide Animals With Plenty of Water
Pets need plenty of water, especially in dry and cold weather. Set out water bowls and check them often. Making sure your pet’s water dish is full helps to ensure they’re getting sufficient water. Or, if they’re an outdoor animal, it allows you to make sure their bowl hasn’t frozen over.
Invest in Regular Grooming
Some breeds of dogs have longer or thick-coated hair. These animals tend to be more susceptible to matting and tangling when they encounter snow. Long-haired pets can benefit from regular grooming during the winter months to avoid any issues with your pet’s skin or hair. When a dog’s hair is kept properly groomed it can help to prevent painful knots they can experience.
Short-haired pets who feel colder during the winter season may not need grooming, but they can benefit from regular brushing to remove any snow or debris they encounter as well as a sweater or coat. This can help to prevent cold weather from causing discomfort, even if indoors.
PetMD also recommends paying special attention to nails and the hair between the paws. “In winter months, the snow and ice form a barrier between the harsh surfaces and your dog’s feet. Trimming the hair on the feet and between the paw pads makes it easier to wipe them clean of all debris post-walk. This reduction in friction results in the nails not getting worn down as much, thus needing more attention.”
Protect Your Pet’s Feet with Paw Protection
As stated earlier, boots and vaseline are two great ways to protect your dog’s paws. Wiping them down after every walk with a warm, wet cloth is another way to help protect your pet’s paws from the elements. Should you experience chapped paws or cracked paw pads, treat them as soon as possible to prevent infection.
Protection from Salt
Unfortunately, the salt and chemicals used to melt ice at homes and business can be harmful to your animals your pet’s diet can lead to life-threatening issues. Help your animals avoid rock salt poisoning by investing in pet-safe rock salt, but also know your dog may still find its bare paws exposed to chemicals while on its walk. Understanding rock salt poisoning symptoms and these tips to keep your furry friend healthy and safe are crucial.
Updated Microchip Information
If your pet does manage to escape during bad weather, having updated microchip information will increase the chances of being reunited. Most people that find a pet will have them checked for a microchip, as would a shelter or vet’s office.
Keep Your Pets Safe This Winter
While winter weather can be a fun time for us humans— sledding, snowball fights, and hot cocoa by the fireplace—it’s important to remember our furry friends may not enjoy it quite as much as we do.
By taking the proper precautions, you can prevent cold weather dangers such as snow, ice, and dangerous chemicals used in de-icing products, which can all pose a threat to a pet’s health.
Next time you head out to build a snowman, make sure you take steps to keep your pet safe from the elements. If you need help de-icing or shoveling your sidewalks and driveway, or want to learn more about planning for snow removal, contact the professionals at All Metro Service Companies. Helping you and your pets stay safe is at the core of our business.
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