Unfortunately, winter poses unique dangers to pets. To keep your pets safe and happy this winter, keep an eye out for these dangers and practice these five safety tips.
1. Don’t leave pets outside for too long
If you are cold, your pets are cold. The best prescription for winter’s woes is to keep your dog or cat inside with you and your family. No matter what the temperature is, wind chill can threaten a pet’s life. Pets are sensitive to severe cold and are at risk for frostbite and hypothermia during extreme cold snaps. Exposed skin on noses, ears and paw pads can quickly freeze and suffer permanent damage.
Like coolant, antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle, and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol.
3. Provide plenty of food and water
Pets that spend a lot of time outdoors need more food in the winter because keeping warm depletes energy. Routinely check your pet’s water dish to make certain the water is fresh and unfrozen. Use plastic food and water bowls; when the temperature is low, your pet’s tongue can stick and freeze to metal.
4. Protect paws from salt
The salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice can irritate the pads of your pet’s feet. Wipe all paws with a damp towel before your pet licks them and irritates his or her mouth.
During the winter, outdoor cats sometimes sleep under the hoods of cars to be near the warmth. When the motor is started, the cat can be injured or killed by the fan belt. If there are outdoor cats in your area, bang loudly on the car hood before starting the engine to give the cat a chance to escape.