Winter Hazards for Your Pets!

Freezing temperatures are now a reality. While you’re bundling up to stay warm, here are some important tips to keep your furry family members comfortable and safe this winter.

Walks

While your pets may still jump for joy when you pull out that leash, even short leisurely walks can pose danger. Consider bringing a towel to clean off stinging and irritated paws. After each walk, wash and dry your pet’s feet and stomach to remove ice, salt and chemicals. Pay special attention to their paw pads and check for cracks or redness between the toes. Massaging petroleum jelly or paw protectants into the paw pads prior to going outside can help protect from salt and chemical agents. Booties can be used to provide even more protection from salt becoming lodged between bare toes and causing irritation.

Grooming

While you want your pet to look their best, avoid shaving your pets during the cold winter months. A longer coat helps keep your pets warm. If your dog is long-haired, consider trimming their hair to minimize salt crystals and de-icing chemicals that can dry the skin. Pay special attention to the hair between their toes. If your dog is short-haired, consider a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly. Limit baths during cold spells as washing too often can remove essential oils and increase the chance of developing dry, flaky skin. If you do bath your pet, try a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner.

Special Hazards

Salt is commonly used to prevent ice from forming on sidewalks. This can be especially irritating to paw pads. Limit exposure to these chemicals and always clean and dry your pet’s feet after coming inside. Like coolant, antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle, and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol.

Keep Them Inside

If you’re cold, they’re cold! Please keep your animals inside during harsh weather. If left outdoors, pets can become disoriented or even freeze to death. In addition, don’t leave pets alone in a car during cold weather, as cars can act as refrigerators that hold in the cold.