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Pet Winter Safety: Preparing for the Big Brrr!

Although you may want to groan when someone mentions the word “winter,” the cold and snow will soon be upon us. As with any season, winter brings with it special considerations for our furriest of friends.

Although you may have already stashed your antifreeze in a locked cabinet (great job!), we have a few more tips for pet winter safety to keep your best pal safe and sound this time of year.

Skin and Paw Protection

Winter can take a toll on your pet’s skin and paws. Not only is it cold and dry, but there are many chemicals used on walkways and roadways that can lead to dry, cracked, or bleeding paw pads.

Keep in mind, short-coated breeds and senior pets are more sensitive to the cold. To help your pet stay warm and dry, we recommend the following:

  • Invest in quality foot protection, like fitted booties, along with a winter coat, sweaters, and rain gear for inclement weather.
  • After wintery walks, gently clean your pet’s feet with a warm washcloth to ensure the removal of chemicals and salts.
  • Kitties who spend time outdoors are at risk for car-related injuries. To be safe, encourage them to stay inside, and inspect your car each morning for a napping cat on your engine.
  • Balms made specifically for pet noses and paw pads can be incredibly soothing and help prevent dryness.
  • Avoid frozen lakes or rivers, as they can easily present an emergency situation if the ice breaks.

Because colder temps impact our little family members more than we think, it’s important to always monitor your pet when outside.

Limit the amount of time on colder mornings or in wet weather, and know the signs of hypothermia:

  • Weakness
  • Paleness
  • Shivering
  • Lack of coordination
  • Shallow breathing
  • Slowed heart rate

If not treated, hypothermia can lead to collapse and death. If you suspect your pet is hypothermic, seek shelter and warmth, and contact us immediately for instructions.

Let’s Talk About Toxins

Our tips for pet winter safety wouldn’t be complete without discussing the risks of pet poisoning. When the ice and snow pile up, many chemicals come out. These include:

  • Antifreeze
  • Road salts
  • Deicers
  • Lawn/garden chemicals

Your best bet to avoid an emergency is to observe your pet at all times outdoors. Thoroughly clean-up your own garage and driveway, stashing away any and all toxic substances.

Senior Pet Winter Safety

Winter takes a terrible toll on senior pets – especially those with health or mobility issues. Pay special attention to your aging companion’s comfort level. Either keep the home a little warmer than usual or add a heated, orthopedic bed to your pet’s Christmas list. Sweaters and extra blankets can also make a big difference, as well as bringing your pet in for a winter wellness care exam.

Winter can be a lovely time of year full of fireside snuggles and happy holidays with friends and family. Make the season even more special by preparing for your pet’s unique cold weather needs.

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