Winter Dangers for Pets

posted: by: WRAH Tags: "Clinic Specials" "News" 

The best approach to winter weather safety for your pets is hazard prevention:

1. Keep your pets inside, or when they go outside be sure to dress them for the weather. Many dogs and cats will welcome the addition of a properly fitted sweater or even booties to help keep them warm when outside.   Extra bedding and/or straw should be provided to any outdoor living accommodations.

2. Keep holiday decorations out of reach.  Christmas tree and other decorations can be seen as an inviting toy to your pet.  Some types of decorations can easily become a lodged foreign body in your pets stomach or intestines requiring surgical removal.

3. Realize that foods that are good for you may not be good for your pet. See List of Dangerous Foods.  Many "edible" items can cause vomiting or diarrhea in your pet.  Most people know the dangers of chocolates but are not as aware that other common holiday treats like cheese spreads, fruitcakes/breads, cookies, and any other foods, especially when eaten in large quantities will often cause upset stomach.
4. Proper grooming can help avoid slips and frostbite.  Keep your pets nails trimmed and also the fur on the bottom of their feet and between the paw pads to help ensure proper footing and avoid painful ice balls. Chemicals used to melt ice, like rock-salt, can irritate and burn the bottom of your pet's paws.  Clean off your pets' feet when they come back inside the house.
5. Use caution when starting a car that has been left outside.  Cats have been known to sit on top of engines, under the hood of a car, to escape winter weather and cuddle up to the warmth of a recently driven car engine.  Knock on your hood or tap the horn before starting the car to startle any unsuspecting residents and avoid deadly damage to a furry friend.
6. Certain plants that are more common in the holiday season can cause concern as well.