Dangers of Cold Weather for Pets

January in Indiana has been very cold so far this year. The arrival of winter weather can bring many threats to your pet’s health and safety. The following tips can help protect your pets from winter dangers:

Bring your pets inside when the temperature falls below freezing. It’s a common misconception that pets can tolerate extreme cold better than humans. Even though they have a fur coat, cats and dogs are still susceptible to hypothermia and frostbite.

Make sure to pet-proof your home for pets that normally spend most of their time outside. Use space heaters with care as they can be burn or fire hazards. Place medications, chemicals and potential chewing hazards out of reach. Be especially careful with any rodenticides in your home or garage because pets are attracted by the taste of these poisons.  If the rodenticides are in your house your pets will find them.  If they do get into a rodenticide, contact your vet immediately.  If you wait until you see symptoms in your pet, it could be too late to save their life or very costly.

If your dog must stay outside, provide them with a clean and dry shelter that is elevated off of the ground. Make sure the door is facing away from the direction of the wind to prevent drafts. Also make sure there is adequate bedding for your pet to stay warm.  Your dog needs access to clean, thawed water. Change the water frequently or purchase a pet-safe heated water bowl. Provide them with a little extra food to help generate heat.

Be mindful of automobile engines if your cat spends any length of time outside. Cats are attracted to the warmth of a recently driven vehicle and can be injured by fan blades and other moving parts.  Give a knock on the hood of your car before you start it.

Also with cars, watch for any antifreeze leaks.  It only takes a tiny amount of antifreeze to do damage to your pets kidneys.  If you know your pet has gotten into any amount of antifreeze seek veterinary help IMMEDIATELY!!!!

Wipe off your pet’s paws, legs and underbelly after they have been outside. Salts, deicers and antifreeze can be toxic when your pet licks its paws and fur.

Be careful when walking older, arthritic pets on snow and ice as they may slip and fall. Very young and old pets or pets with medical conditions may have a difficult time regulating their body temperature and may be more susceptible to extreme cold.  Only take them out long enough to do their business and bring them right back inside.

Be sure to consult with your veterinarian if you recognize any problems or abnormal behavior from you pet.

Below are links to three websites with more information on cold weather dangers for pets:

https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/Cold-weather-pet-safety.aspx
https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/cold-weather-tips
http://www.vetmed.wsu.edu/ClientED/cold.aspx


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