Winter Safety for Your Pets

Winter weather is fast approaching and with that comes new dangers and risks for our pets. Here’s a few of them:

1. Cold Temperatures
Certain breeds are at higher risk of frostbite and hypothermia if outdoors for too long. These breeds include short haired dogs and small or toy breeds. These breeds will require some extra protection from the winter chill when outside. A warm sweater or coat is recommended, and walks are advised to be shorter. Always remember to monitor your pets when they have winter wear on as they can be strangling hazards if left on unsupervised. In general, large breed dogs with long fur can keep themselves warm on walks. How do you know if it’s too cold outside for your pets? The best rule is if it’s too cold out for you, it’s probably too cold outside for your pet. Outdoor cats should be kept indoors as much as possible in the winter. If left outside for too long they are especially at risk to develop frostbite on their ears, tail, nose and paws.

2. Salt and other harsh chemicals
Salt and other harsh chemicals are used in the winter to prevent ice formation. These substances can be quite irritating to our pet’s skin and paws. It is essential to wash and dry your pet’s paws after coming in from each walk. If your pet’s paws become easily dry/irritated or cracking it may be advisable to consider using booties. Petroleum jelly can be used on paw pads as well before walks to try and protect them. Please keep your pets away from any source of antifreeze. It is a very toxic poison to your pet. Pets are often drawn to drinking antifreeze due to its sweetness. If there are any spills, thoroughly clean it up.

3. Ice
Ice is a severe hazard for people as well as your pets. Often pets come in for lameness after a serious fall or slip from ice. Please be careful when letting your pet loose either at dog parks or in your backyard.

Written by McLean Animal Hospital