Brace Your Paws...Winter is Coming
Keeping your pets safe this winter
My dog absolutely loves Winter, and she would spend all day playing and frolicking in the snow if we let her. However, Wintertime is not all fun and games for our four-legged friends. Our sweet little pooch is a senior dog, and this is a precarious time of year for not just older dogs but all animals. Before the full brunt of winter is upon us, it is time to think about ways to protect your pets during the most brutal season of the year. Your pets depend on you to keep them safe and healthy during this particularly treacherous time of year. Cold temperatures and seasonal tools we use to make our lives easier can spell doom for your pets if they aren’t treated with care.
Protect Them From Extreme Temperatures
Temperatures can fluctuate dramatically during the winter season. Extremely cold temperatures can injure any animal, but it can be particularly harmful to elderly pets and ones whose coats are not designed to handle the harsher temperatures. Just as with humans, it doesn’t take much time exposed to the elements for animals to get hyperthermia. This is not the time of year to allow your animals to spend extended amounts of time outdoors. Be conscientious of the time they spend in the cold.
Put Up Weather Fencing Around Ponds and Open Water
Snow-covered landscapes are beautiful to behold but can spell disaster for your pooch. If you have a pond or open body of water in your yard, putting up a protection fence will save you the heartache of a drowned pet that has fallen through the ice. Ice can be extremely dangerous especially with fluctuating winter temperatures. Not to mention that snow on top of ice can warm the ice underneath and can affect its stability and firmness.
Remember Animals Housed Outdoors Need Extra Attention
Be mindful of the drafty areas of your home, where caged animals might be housed. Drafts can be harmful to certain animals who can’t regulate their own body heat, especially cold-blooded animals, like snakes. Animals that are regularly housed outdoors, such as rabbits, need to have a shelter that will protect them from the cold and will allow them to get out of the wind. Hay is a great insulator, but it needs to be changed weekly to protect your animals from toxins like mold.
Take The Bite Out Of Frostbite
Just like you, your furry friends can develop frostbite. As with people, areas of the body that have relatively low circulation, such as the tips of the ears or areas that are exposed to moisture, like the genital area, are places that will be susceptible to frostbite. The pads of their feet are especially vulnerable. If your pet’s feet are covered in snow, take a moment to dry them off when they come inside.
Beware of Ice Melter
It is also important to think about the various winter tools we use to make our lives easier and safer. It may not occur to you that while applying ice melt to your porch and walkways to prevent slipping, you could be irritating your dog’s feet. When buying an ice melter for your walkway, look for varieties that are marked as safe for your pets to walk in. You can also purchase booties for your four-legged friends to wear when they venture outside.
Keep Anti-freeze Away from Your Pets
One of the most dangerous winter hazards for animals is anti-freeze. To pets, anti-freeze has a pleasing taste, but it is deadly. Be mindful of any leaks or spills in your driveway and be sure to clean them up at once. It does not take a lot of anti-freeze to kill your pet. There are brands of anti-freeze that make varieties that are safe for your pets.
With some simple precautions and mindfulness to the dangers that can present themselves during this time of year, you can not only keep your pets safe and healthy but happy as well.