How cold is to cold for our pets?

It doesn’t matter if you get excited or let down when cold weather settles in, there things that we need to consider to keep our pets healthy all winter long. Even with their built in fur coats our pets are still susceptible to the dangers of the cold. Thankfully, there are some things we can do to keep them safe and cozy all winter long.

Keep Pets Dry and Warm

Limit your pet’s time outdoors during extreme cold. When you do take them outside dress them warmly. Pick up a doggy sweater and water-proof jacket plus some booties to keep them nice and snug. If they shun the outerwear, introduce it to them slowly indoors. Let them wear it around the house and “break it in.” Try getting them wear baby socks around the house to familiarize them with booties. This will get them used to having something on their feet for when they need to wear shoes on the frozen ground. Always dry them off after being outside in the snow and check their paws for ice.

A lot of dogs don’t like going out to potty in the freezing cold (can you blame them?!). The more snow you get, the harder it can be. Shovel out a spot near where they usually go so they can smell their scent. then put a pee pad down to make it seem a little warmer.  Also, now that it gets darker earlier, chances are you are taking them out in the dark when you get home from work. So make sure to have a reflective leash and a flashlight if you’re walking with them after the sun goes down.

Wipe Off Paws After Walks

If your dog refuses to wear booties, always wipe off their paws after a walk. Ice can get stuck in and cut their pads. Take care to look for frozen paws and even put some Pet Paw Salve to help them from getting chapped.

This is especially true for walks on walkways or roads that have been treated with rock salt or slag. Rock salt that is used to melt ice and snow is very hazardous for our pet’s and their paws. There is a chemical reaction that causes the ice to melt and it can easily  irritate and burn their pads. What’s even worse is your dog could accidentally ingest these chemicals by licking their paws. In small amounts it could result in nausea and vomiting, but large doses are much more dangerous and even toxic. If you need to keep your stairs and sidewalks safe at home, you can purchase non-toxic safe for pets ice melt to keep them from freezing safely.

Hidden Dangers of Anti-Freeze

A danger that can be overlooked during winter months is anti-freeze. It’s often left out in garages and sheds, spills left not cleaned, and worst of all it is sweet. So sweet that some pets find it delicious, even though it is deadly. Play it safe, lock it up and clean up any spills right away to avoid accidental ingestion. Signs of anti-freeze poisoning include:

  • Uncoordinated, “drunken” movements
  • Nausea/Vomiting
  • Delirium
  • Diarrhea
  • Rapid heart beat
  • Seizures or Convulsions
  • Depression

If you suspect your pet has gotten into your anti-freeze contact a vet as soon as possible. If you can, have someone drive as you contact either your regular vet or an emergency center. Depending on how much they drank it, getting help immediately is imperative.

After all, winter is a fun time of playing in the snow, snuggling on the couch with cocoa, reading and watching movies. And keeping warm with loved ones is one of the best parts. That’s why it’s important to keep safety in mind. We all want to be healthy and happy all winter long.