The winter weather can affect all of us, even your furry friends. So, if you’re a pet owner make sure you keep them safe this winter with these helpful pet winter safety tips.
Both cats and dogs have sensitive paw pads, so take caution if you plan to let them outside temporarily. De-icer and salt can be especially dangerous to any animal because it can burn and irritate their paws.
So, if you plan to use de-icer this year, stick to pet friendly options that don’t contain harsh chemicals and won’t stick to your pet’s paws. Additionally, be weary of public areas- sidewalks, roads, and other public walkways will most likely have salt or sand on them. To protect your pooch when you take them for a walk, consider getting dog shoes which can protect them from the harsh elements and chemicals.
Let’s face it, unless they’re litter or potty trained your pet will need to go outdoors to use the bathroom.
Of course, you still should be cautious when you let them outdoors. Smaller or senior pets may have trouble walking on the snow, especially if it’s quite high. So, make sure you shovel a special path and spot for them to use the bathroom.
Additionally, don’t keep them outdoors for a prolonged period of time- even bigger or long haired pets can feel the elements after a while. Be attentive to smaller or senior pets as well, they’re more prone to developing health issues in the colder weather. Consider buying a pet sweater to keep them warmer outside.
While it’s best to keep your fur friends indoors, there are some precautions you should take, not to just protect them, but your other family members as well.
Check all smoke detectors- this could save you and your pet’s lives. Carbon monoxide poisoning and fires are very common this time of year, so make sure all detectors in your home are working before it’s too late.
Keep indoor fires under control- if you have a fireplace, they’re great in the winter time. They create a cozy atmosphere and help you save on your heating bill. However, if you’re not careful, that pleasant couch side fire could turn into a serious home fire.
Keep your fireplace free of any flammable items- toys, blankets, paper, etc. should be kept far away from your fireplace.
Never leave any fire unattended- this is especially true with your pets around. Sensitive whiskers can quickly catch a flame because of a curious pet.
This may be obvious for many owners, but time and time again people leave their pets, particularly dogs in their cars when temperatures are extreme.
Here’s the thing- if you’re bringing your pooch to the park that’s one thing, but if you need to go somewhere where you cannot bring your dog, leave them at home. Don’t cause them to be under stress when it’s cold out because even if they’re in a vehicle protected from the elements, your car can still get extremely cold.
Additionally, be careful of stray cats in your neighborhood. Unfortunately, cats who do not have a home may try to seek shelter under or inside of your car- so before you head out make sure to check common areas such as the undercarriage or tire of your car. These pet winter safety tips could save a life.
Understand Distress Signs
Just like people, animals can become hypothermic or get frostbite when exposed to the cold weather for too long.
Signs of frostbite include:
- Pale, gray, or blue skin
- Red, puffy skin
- Painful ears, tail, or paws
- Skin that remains cold
- Skin that is shriveled
Frostbite typically affects areas such as, the tail, paws, tail, and ears. If you notice any of these signs, apply warm water to the area for 20 minutes and call your vet immediately as frostbite can turn serious quickly.
Signs of hypothermia include:
- Excessive shivering
- Muscle stiffness
- Trouble breathing
- Little to no appetite
- Temperature below 98 °
- And in extreme cases- coma or cardiac arrest
If you notice your pet exhibiting any of these signs get them into a warm area and call your veterinarian immediately.
So, while winter can be a beautiful time of year for many, it can be dangerous for pets if you aren’t careful! These pet winter safety tips can keep your furry friends safe all season long. Are you a pet owner? What types of pets do you own? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below.