Winter is upon us and with the drop in temperature and inclement weather comes a range of pet parenting challenges that you may not have encountered before. As you are responsible for the welfare of your pet all year round, it is important to be aware of the potential dangers that winter poses. With this in mind, we have put together the following winter pet safety tips.
Keep Your Pet Warm
It may be obvious, but many inexperienced owners don’t realize that their pet’s fur doesn’t necessarily protect them against the most extreme temperatures. Some pets are better equipped to handle cold weather than others, but they still need consideration when the weather gets worse. If it is too cold for you to walk around outside without several layers, it is probably too cold for your pet. Consider investing in a doggy coat for walk times, and make sure your pet has adequate warm housing and plenty of bedding.
Don’t Leave Your Pet Unattended in a Vehicle
Most of us know not to leave a pet alone in a hot car, but it can be just as dangerous to leave them unattended in a cold one. In winter, vehicles hold in the cold, turning them into refrigerators and making them deadly for your furbaby.
Puddles are par for the course in winter, but when it’s very cold, they may not be what they seem. Puddles that form where vehicles have been can contain antifreeze – a substance that is essential for engines but is toxic if consumed by your pet. Unfortunately, antifreeze smells and tastes sweet – making it very tempting for pets who will not know any better. If you spill any antifreeze in your garage or yard, be sure to clear it up right away and ask any neighbors to kindly do the same.
Keep Away From Bodies of Water Too
Melting ice and snow can cause water levels to rise, making rivers and lakes particularly treacherous for you and your pet. And never be tempted to walk out onto frozen water. It doesn’t matter how thick the ice looks; you could still be putting both yourself and your pet into mortal danger.
Trim Your Pet’s Coat
If you have a pet with a shaggy underside, it is important to get this trimmed before winter. If it drags along the ground, it can pick up ice and snow which will cling to it, putting your pet at increased risk of frostbite and hypothermia. It can also pick up salt that has been used to ice the sidewalks and roads, and if your pet then licks their coat to remove it, it could make them very sick indeed. Salt and ice can also irritate and burn, so be sure to wash off your pet’s paws thoroughly when they come in from outside. Better still, invest in some winter booties!
Check Your Vehicle Before You Drive
Cars emit a little heat long after you have switched off the engine, making them a magnet for animals that are outside. Whether a local cat or a wild animal, be sure to check under the hood before you head out.
Be Careful About Letting Your Pet Off the Leash
It doesn’t matter how well your pet knows the land; winter can make even the most familiar territory more treacherous. This is particularly so when it has been snowing, as when snow covers the ground, it can make regular routes and locations seem alien. Your pet could easily get lost so keep them on the leash instead.
Keep a Store of Supplies
If the weather gets really bad, you could find yourself unable to leave your home for a few days. It is helpful to have a plentiful supply of your pet’s food and any medication that they may need during this time. If you need to travel, be sure to pack an emergency kit to take with you too, in the event that you and your pet become stranded somewhere unfamiliar.
For more winter pet safety tips, please don’t hesitate to speak to our experienced veterinary team in Shawnee, KS today.