Winter Safety for Your Furry Friend

If you haven't looked outside the past few weeks, surprise – winter is upon us! It's important to keep your pets healthy and active, but you should do so in a safe manner.

Here are 5 problems & safety tips for your pets this season:
1.) Temperature: First and foremost, it’s COLD! Protecting your dog or cat from the elements is important. Just as we like to bundle up before we step outdoors, some pets do not have that extra layer to keep them warm. The two major concerns we have are hypothermia and frostbite, no one wants an icicle for a pet. There are special animal coats, sweaters, hats and even boots you can purchase for them. Another thing to consider is if they are an indoor or outdoor pet. If you keep your animals outside make sure that they have a warm, dry, draft free place to stay. Make sure they access to water and use heated water dishes so it does not turn into a small skating rink!
2.) Salt: Not the seasoning in your kitchen, but the de-icer used on city streets and sidewalks. This can be very harmful to your pets, it has a drying effect on their paws and can be very irritating or cause chemical burns. Be sure to wash your pet’s paws once you get home (you can use warm water and a cloth), otherwise they may lick their paws and get sores on their mouth/throat and get sick. You can always get doggy boots as well.
3.) Antifreeze: Cats and dogs are attracted to the sweet smell of it and it is highly toxic. Make sure you keep an eye on your pets if they are off-leash. Clean up any spills in your yard/garage. If your pet does ingest some, the animal looks as if they were intoxicated with alcohol: stumbling, vomiting and depression. The kidneys are the most severely affected, and should be treated quickly. If you think your animal has ingested antifreeze, contact your veterinarian immediately.
4.) Cat-astrophes: Your vehicle keeps you warm in the winter and may also keep some furry company warm as well. Many animals like to crawl up under your hood to find some warmth. Banging on the hood of your car before you start it is a good place to start and to avoid any accidents.
5.) Darkness: With winter comes darkness. When walking your pets, be aware that you may see drivers, but they may not see you. They also may not be able to stop as quickly as in the summer, on dry roads. To keep safe, keep your pets on a leash at all times when not in a designated off-leash area. Purchase a dog jacket, booties, collars or leash trimmed with reflective strips. You may also try and walk in well-lit areas.

6.) Ice: It may look like a ‘Winter Wonderland’ outside but be aware that the snow hides dangers as well, such as ice. Most ponds are lightly iced and snow covered this time of year, but many have only a thin layer. Do not trust any ice to support your pet’s weight until January. Always test the area with a stick or your body weight first, in a shallow area. Bottom line: if you’re not 100% sure of the thickness of the ice, do not allow your pets to walk on it.

Stay warm!  And stay tuned for some Christmas safety tips. For more updates be sure to like us on Facebook and follow our Twitter feed.

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