COLD WEATHER SAFETY TIPS FOR PET OWNERS
The unavoidable arrival of cold weather will soon be upon us and we all aren’t as happy about it as Moose and Jasmine!
In Etobicoke, we know that the cold winter weather is here.
For us humans, that means hauling out the thick sweaters, warm winter coats, hats, scarves and mittens. For our pets, it means that we as owners now have to think a little bit before heading outdoors for daily walks – not only about coats and boots for our furry friends, but also the many outdoor hazards that can be a problem for them such as exposure to the cold, walking on sidewalk salt or ice melters, and potential exposure to antifreeze. Here are some quick tips to help beat the winter blues…
- Use dog coats and/or boots for your pets to protect them from the wind, snow and salty sidewalks – an extra layer helps protect them from the elements. Paw protecting creams (usually petroleum jelly-based) are also available for the pets who won’t tolerate footwear.
- When coming in from outside, be sure to thoroughly dry off your pet with a towel (be sure to wipe down all exposed areas of their body including the paws and in between the toes) to remove any residual moisture, clinging ice balls, and any potential salt crystals or de-icing products from their fur. All of these things can potentially dry-out or irritate the skin, and any chemical ingestion from licking later in the day can irritate the mouth leading to drooling or discomfort depending on the amount present. You may need to bathe the feet if your pet doesn’t wear boots and you’ve walked in a particularly salt-covered area.
- Use “pet-friendly” ice melting products whenever possible.
- Anti-freeze is a lethal poison for pets. Only 1 teaspoon can be deadly for a cat; and less than 4 teaspoons can seriously harm a 10-lb dog. Clean up any visible spills as soon as possible.
- When we have a record-setting cold day, please remember that if it’s too cold for you, then it’s probably too cold for your dog or cat to be outside too. On those particular days it’s best to just plan to stay inside.
- Never leave pets alone in a car during cold weather. If you are going to a place where they cannot join you, then it is best to leave them at home where they’ll stay warm and safe.
So enjoy the outdoors and all of the fun that winter brings…but just plan ahead and always think of the animals that are a part of our families too.
Dr. Annelle Valentin