A Slippery Slope: What You Can do About Cold Weather Pet Safety

dog ill or sleepingWe might be experiencing record high winter temperatures this year, but it’s only a matter of time until we get battered by a seasonally appropriate Nor’easter. Until then, all we can do is prepare – including your pet. Even if he or she is equipped with a thick winter coat, it’s important to review these cold weather pet safety measures.

Warm and Cozy

Your pet may be susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia in certain weather conditions, so keeping him or her warm is paramount. Noses, paw pads, and ears can actually freeze, resulting in permanent damage.

If your pet spends more time outside than you can tolerate, it’s critical to get him or her inside and warmed up. Check the paws to remove any snow, ice, or ice melt, and consider investing in comfortable boots or a warm vest. Please monitor your very young or senior pet when he or she is outside in freezing temperatures.

An Unsafe Haven

Animals left out in the cold often seek shelter and warmth in places that seem safe, but are actually quite perilous. The chamber adjacent to a car’s engine can provide warmth for a certain amount of time, so it’s good practice to pound on your hood before you start your car.

Likewise, space heaters, electrical cords, and open flame candles can pose hazards to your curious cat or dog.

The Cons of Antifreeze

Antifreeze: good for your car in January, absolutely terrible for your pet. Brightly colored and sweet-tasting, antifreeze is responsible for kidney failure and some awful accompanying symptoms. Please contact us immediately if you notice:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Panting
  • Vomiting
  • Apparent drunkenness

Stiffness and Joint Health

Older pets suffering from arthritis can experience flare-ups during the cold, damp months. This vulnerability can cause a great deal of stiffness and pain, so please let us know if your pet needs a pain management plan this winter. Providing your pet a soft, warm bed away from any drafts will help. A healthy dose of patience and understanding is also important for a slower than usual pet.

Cold weather pet safety includes bringing your pet in for a general wellness check. Harsh temperatures can exacerbate any health problems, so it’s best to be proactive.

Extra Cold Weather Pet Safety

It’s not uncommon for homes in our county to lose power during a winter storm. We recommend having back-up pet food, water, litter, medications, and anything your pet depends on regularly. Flashlights and extra blankets are excellent to have on hand.

Lending a Hand

Helping an animal in need during a cold snap is a compassionate endeavor. Supplying fresh, unfrozen water, food, and shelter to feral pets can sometimes lead to the discovery of an identification tag or microchip.

Speaking of microchips, please remember that snow and ice can reduce your pet’s ability to track his or her surroundings. Therefore, it’s important to make sure your pet’s microchip is current.

Taking extra care of your pet this winter ensures he or she will pad softly through the wildflowers this spring. Please let us know if we can answer any questions about cold weather pet safety. Stay safe and warm!