It only takes a quick glance out your window to see that winter is here to stay for a while. Like every season, it presents unique safety challenges for dogs and cats. Fortunately, you can easily minimize these risks to ensure that your pet stays happy and healthy all season long.
Protecting Your Pet Outdoors
Unlike cats who could stay indoors all winter, dogs still need to go for walks and go outside to relieve themselves. When the temperature and the wind chill are below zero, limit this time to no more than is absolutely necessary. A dog-sized coat and covers for the paws will help your dog stay warm when you go for a walk. Additionally, the dog booties protect his paws from road salt that can be painful to step on and get lodged between his toes.
The Pet Poison Helpline fields hundreds of calls this time of year from people who are frantic because their pet ingested anti-freeze. Even a small amount of this substance can be toxic or fatal, particularly for cats and small dogs. If you have anti-freeze spills on your driveway, be sure to keep your pet away from that area entirely. It's also important to keep unused anti-freeze in a sealed container on a high shelf. This substance is attractive to them due to its sweetness and clear appearance.
Mice and other rodents are pesky at any time of year, but they are even more of a problem in the winter because they seek shelter inside of your home to escape the weather. If you use outdoor rodenticides, train your pet to stay away from them and supervise her when she is outside. Like anti-freeze, ingesting rodenticide can create toxic effects in animals within minutes.
When you are outside with your pet, be sure to look for signs of hypothermia or frostbite. Excessive shivering, lethargy, black or bright red tissues, and icicles on the body are the most common indications that one of these conditions has occurred. Please contact us immediately for treatment advice or to schedule an appointment to evaluate your pet's symptoms.
In case of an emergency this winter, please contact the clinic nearest you during regular office hours. After hours, you may contact our on-call doctor at 1-800-924-0588. Our veterinarian will arrange to meet you or refer you to another emergency service if not available to see your pet right away.