As the Days get shorter and colder your pet could suffer a serious health issue if you fail to follow these 6 cold weather safety tips.
1) Know your pet's limits
Many factors can affect your pet's ability to withstand cold weather; such as age, hair coat type and length, health status and total amount of time spent outside. A geriatric pet with a chronic illness will have a much lower tolerance to the cold weather than an adult pet who is relatively healthy. You may need to consult with your veterinarian to determine your pet's cold weather limits.
If left outside in the cold past what your pet can reasonably tolerate serious health consequences can arise including Hypothermia, frostbite and even death.
2) Provide choice
If your pet is spending long periods of time outside it is essential to provide pet-friendly enclosures. According to the Great Plains ASPCA “ideally, all pets should live inside. If your pets live outdoors primarily, bring them indoors during sub-zero temperatures. For the rest of the winter, provide them with a dry, draft-free shelter that is large enough to allow them to sit and lay down comfortably, but small enough to conserve body heat. The floor should be raised a few inches off the ground and covered with cedar shavings or straw. Turn the shelter so it faces away from the wind and cover the doorway with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic.” For rabbits and chickens specifically, provide more fluffy bedding than usual, heated water bowls and depending on the size of the cage, a fire-safe heat lamp.
3) Check under the hood for hitchhikers
It seems almost every year we see the same case; outdoor cat out in the winter elements, seeks warmth under the hood of a recently driven car, only to be seriously injured when the car's owner returns to drive away. When this accident happens it almost always causes life-threatening injuries to the cat, so be sure to check under the hood or make loud noises, such as honking the car horn, to scare away any critters in hiding.
4) Reflective wear can be a lifesaver
Now that the days have become shorter walking your pet may be happening in the dark. It becomes difficult for drivers to see pedestrians and their pets. To avoid an accident reflective wear is the best option. There is a wide variety in all price ranges found in sporting goods stores and of course online. You may even try and find a matching reflective collar for your doggo to wear.
5) Avoid antifreeze
Because of its sweet smell, antifreeze attracts all kinds of animals, wild and domestic. But, absolutely do not let your pets ingest antifreeze. It is highly toxic, if ingested by one of your pets please contact your veterinarian ASAP. Common symptoms of antifreeze poisoning include incoordination, drooling, vomiting, seizing, increased breathing effort, severe lethargy, inappetence and if left untreated, can be fatal.
6) Check the ingredients of that ice melt
Unfortunately, not all ice melts are created equal or at least with pet safety in mind. Several products are toxic when ingested or can scald the pads of your pet's paws. The AKC recommends Morton® Safe-T-Pet® Ice Melt® stating "You can be a good dog owner and responsible neighbor by using a product that melts snow and ice and is also safe for pets. Now Morton, known both for its table salts and its commercial and industrial products, has developed an ice melt that is effective on ice and snow without harming your dog. Veterinarians helped develop Morton Safe-T-Pet® to be a pet-safe way to melt snow and ice. It’s 100 percent chloride-free and salt-free and melts ice and snow in temperatures down to 10 degrees Fahrenheit."
Keep safe this winter but most of all enjoy the cool crisp days while they last because before you know it, those hot muggy days of summer will be back!