With snow flurries and chilly temperatures in the forecast, pet parents need to prepare their four-legged family members for winter. There could be some hidden dangers that you may not have thought of during the winter months. But, we’ve got you covered!
Continue reading to learn more about how you can keep your pets safe and sound from winter dangers.
Hypothermia – Even though animals have a built-in fur coat, that does not mean that they do not get cold or feel the effects of freezing temperatures. The normal body temperature of your pet can range from 100-102.5°F, but if their temperature falls below that range, they could suffer from hypothermia. Signs for hypothermia can range from shivering to paleness. Similar to the human effects of hypothermia, it can cause pets to go into a coma, heart failure and even, death. In addition, hypothermia can cause frostbite, which is caused from the lack of blood flow to limbs, feet, ears, etc. Remember, if it is too cold for you, it is probably too cold for your animals. So be safe and keep your pets inside.
De-Icing Salts – Very commonly used on sidewalks and driveways to prevent ice, de-icing salts (rock salt) can cause a major threat to your beloved pets. Rock salt can irritate paws or make your pets sick if ingested because it contains sodium chloride or calcium chloride. It is easily transferred to your pet’s paws if they have been out for their daily walk or let outside to do their business on a sidewalk that has been treated with rock salt or de-icing products. Even though there are pet-friendly de-icing salts and products, make sure your clean your pet’s paws after being outside to prevent them from licking the salts off. You can apply olive oil or other paw protectants, like pet booties, to shield your pet’s from salt on the icy ground. If you have any more concerns about de-icing salts or you think your pet might have ingested it, please contact the Pet Poison Helpline or visit their website.
Antifreeze – In many garages you can find Antifreeze as it is a common item used in cars. Unfortunately, antifreeze is toxic to animals. Antifreeze contains ethylene glycol and can cause acute kidney failure in pets. If your pet has ingested antifreeze, it is critical you get your pet to the veterinarian immediately! Some signs that your pet has been poisoned from antifreeze are vomiting, drooling, seizures, and walking “drunk.” If left untreated, it can be fatal. Again, if you have any more concerns about antifreeze or you think your pet might have ingested it, please contact the Pet Poison Helpline or visit their website.
Snow Balls – After playing outside with your pet, you might notice that they are limping or whining with each step. If you look closely at their paws and in-between their toes, you might find snow that has formed into balls clinging to your pet’s fur. These little snow balls pull your pet’s fur which can cause discomfort and pain. Make sure that your pet does not have any snow balls on them, you don’t want to have a snow ball fight in the house!
Dry Skin – Similar to how humans react to the cold, pets can also get dry skin from the cold. Your pet’s skin might become itchy and flaky during these months. Try to towel dry your pets when they come in from the cold and keep your home humidified. In addition, try to bathe your pets minimally. Giving your pets baths too frequently can remove essential, natural oils that their bodies make to avoid dry skin. If your pet is stinky and needs a bath, use a moisturizing pet shampoo.
We hope this information on winter dangers for pets helps keep your pet happy and healthy this winter! Stay warm and remember, if you have any further questions, or need additional information, please consult your veterinarian!