Protecting Your Pets This Winter
Winter weather and chemicals used to melt ice can be dangerous to pets.
News4 asked Ashley Gallagher, DVM at Friendship Hospital for Animals in Northwest D.C. to share safety tips for keeping your pets safe.
Take a look at these chemicals and dangerous situations to avoid:
- Antifreeze: This common chemical has a sweet taste so dogs and cats are actually attracted to it. If you are unaware your pet was exposed, by the time clinical signs become apparent it is often too late for treatment. The other nasty thing about antifreeze is that a tiny amount is all it takes to cause irreversible damage resulting in death. Avoid this by monitoring your pets at all times when outside your home.
- Salting for snow and ice: Many of the chemicals used to keep sidewalks and roads safe can be toxic to dogs. Toxicity is best avoided by cleaning paws after a walk so they don’t lick off the chemicals once you get home. If you will be salting your own property choose a product that specifies it is pet friendly. You can also use booties which are disposable and waterproof – that’s only if your dog tolerates them!
- Rodenticide: The cold weather drives rats and mice into our homes and without question this is undesirable. In an effort to get rid of these unwanted visitors many people will put out poison in the house and around the property. Keep this in mind, rodenticides don’t just kill rodents, they will kill any mammal that ingests it. Most rat poison is formulated to be tasty, attracting both rodents and our pets. If you must use a rodenticide make sure your animals can’t get to it, remembering that the crafty rodent often will move the poison.
- Freezing temperatures: I think this shouldn’t need to be said but keep your pets inside when it gets cold. If the thermostat dips below 40 degrees Fahrenheit bring outside dogs inside. If you have a short-haired dog it is a good idea to keep them warm on walks with a toasty jacket or sweater. Animals are susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia just like us so please protect them.
- Indoor/outdoor cats: Cats should always be kept inside to protect them from trauma and diseases, but if you do have an indoor/outdoor cat, don’t let them out in cold and inclement weather. Cats will often seek warmth by crawling up onto the engine block of a car. This is a really bad scene if the cat is still curled up in there when the car is started.
- Orthopedic Injury: Dogs love running through the deep snow and don’t give much thought to racing across an icy patch of terrain. Owners must be careful when letting pups run free as they can easily pull a muscle or slip and fall. Another danger is when ice and snow accumulate between furry toes causing cuts or irritation.
Want more tips? Visit Ashley Gallagher, DVM’s blog.