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Cold Winter Weather Brings Hazards For Our Pets!
Now that the snow is flying, we need to remember that the cold weather is dangerous for our pets. Below are some concerns that all pet owners should be aware of this time of year.
Hypothermia: The most obvious concern (even with their fur coat!) is hypothermia. Dogs and cats can get cold with prolonged exposure in cold temperatures outside just like us. In extreme cold weather pets should be outside only to go to the washroom and be brought back in as soon as possible. Frostbite is a real danger this time of year as well. Pets that stay outside year round need adequate shelter from the cold, preferably with insulation. If you keep any water bowls outside for your animals during the winter, be sure to check the supply a few times a day to ensure it isn’t frozen over. If you are unable to provide fresh, clean water regularly throughout the day you need to provide an insulated, heated water bowl in order to keep the water from freezing. Clean, fresh snow is not an adequate replacement for water for an animal.
Sidewalk Salt: This can be irritating to your pets paws. Paws should be washed and dried off when coming indoors to lower the exposure time to the salt otherwise a contact chemical burn may occur.
Car Engines: Cats and wildlife are drawn to the heat generated by your car’s engine on cold days. Make sure you bang on your car’s hood prior to starting it to avoid injuring an unsuspecting visitor.
Antifreeze and De-icing Fluid can be toxic to pets if ingested. Be sure to clean up any spills when refilling these products in a car. Antifreeze, which contains ethylene glycol (EG), is extremely dangerous to dogs and cats. Sources of ethylene glycol include automotive antifreeze (radiator coolant, which typically contains 95% ethylene glycol), windshield deicing agents, motor oils, and hydraulic brake fluid, among other things. As little as a tablespoon can result in severe acute kidney failure in dogs, while as little as 1 teaspoon can be fatal to cats. When dogs or cats are exposed to ethylene glycol, immediate treatment is necessary.
Candles and Heaters/Radiators can cause burns in pets who try to get close to the heat source in the cold weather. Candles can also be knocked over which in turn can cause a fire. Never leave a pet unattended with candles in a room. There are now flameless LED candles available and they are a much safer option with curious pets around!
Lakes, Streams and Any Open Water can be a hazard for our pets as well. Animals are curious creatures and this can get them into trouble. Animals can fall through thin ice or get trapped under the ice and drown. Pets should be kept on leash to avoid these problems.