Winter is fast approaching. Here are some key safety tips to have a safe winter for you and your pets:
Safe Overnight Temperature for Dogs and Cats
Overnight temperatures are getting colder. The threshold for bringing pets inside overnight is about the freezing at 32°. Be safe and bring your dog or cat inside for the night. They’ll appreciate resting comfortably on their warm bedding near a heat source. If you leave your dog outside be sure their house is insulated with deep bedding. Ideally you’ll want a safe heat source and a heated water source.
Walking your Dog in Snow and Ice
When walking your dog in below freezing temperatures keep in mind a few things. Short-legged breeds are closer to the ground and bellying up to the snow can be, well, cold. Obviously, dogs with long hair or thick coats tolerate colder temperatures better than short hair breeds. A sweater or dog coat is recommended for short hair breeds. If your pet has a chronic disease check with us to determine what temperatures might be of concern.
After or during the walk, check their paws for snow and ice accumulation between their toes. Look for cracked or bleeding paw pads. Be sure to wipe down or wash your dog’s feet, legs and belly after a walk. There is risk of poisoning due to stepping in anti-freeze on streets or sidewalks, which they may inadvertently lick off their paws.
Rodent Poison and Pets
Rodents look for a warm place to nest as winter approaches. Rat and mouse poisons are commonly used to discourage this activity. Use these with extreme caution and place in areas your dog or cat can’t access. Should your dog or cat consume these poisons, call us immediately.
Cars Can Be Very Cold
We all know how deadly cars can be for unattended pets in hot temperatures. But, did you know cars are like a refrigerator in the winter and your pet can be adversely affected as well? Be sure your dog or cat isn’t left out in the car during cold weather, particularly if they are young, old, or unwell.
Pet-proof Your House
Winter approaches and the space heaters suddenly appear. Space heaters need to be placed in safe locations. If knocked over they can burn your pet or start a house fire. Should you leave the house and your pet stays home turn off your space heater.
Early Morning or Evening Walks
Our clocks have fallen back and most walks will have minimal daylight, if any. Wear bright colors. Make sure your pet is wearing a reflective collar or blinking light so you are both visible to cars. And of course, enjoy the fresh air.
Ticks and Fleas
It’s a good idea to use preventative medicine for ticks and fleas through the year. We suggest you regularly vacuum the areas your pet spends time in. This will reduce the number of flea pupae and risk of infestation, when the conditions are right.
Holiday Foods to Avoid
Avoid giving your pet anything from the onion family. Don’t give them grapes, chocolate, or alcohol. In addition, xylitol, an artificial sugar alcohol sweetener, is poisonous to your pets.