Staying Safe This Winter – Pets and Cold Weather

Winter is here and we have some tips for how to handle pets and cold weather.  Winter is a great time for snuggling with your pets by the fire, playing catch with snowballs and taking long walks down snowy lanes.  Winter is not without it’s hazards, though so here are some precautions you should take when the temperature dips.

If you take your dog on walks in snow and ice, wipe their paws off with a towel before they come in. Not only with this help keep your floors clean, it will remove any ice chunks from their toes. It also will help remove any rock salt they might have picked up on their paws during their walk. Rock salt is used on snow and ice to help keep us from slipping, but it can be irritating to sensitive paws.  If rock salt or de-icers have been used on your walk, a warm water rinse is a good idea. If you have cats that go outdoors, their paws should be checked regularly too and rinsed off if necessary.

Another winter hazard is antifreeze, which has a sweet smell and taste and is poisonous to your pets. Try to keep your pets out of driveways and roadways where antifreeze can collect. If your pet shows any signs of poisoning (clumsiness, drunken behavior, vomiting, wobbling) call your vet immediately.

Cats can sometimes climb up into car engines or wheel wells to stay warm.  A car that was recently driven stays warm and stray cats often take refuge from the cold in these warm, dark places.  Check your car before starting it by knocking on your hood and around the wheels.  A few minutes of checking can save a kitty’s life.

Most of all, spend time with your animals. We can’t think of much better than a cat purring in our ear and a dog snoozing in our lap while we drink a cup of hot chocolate and watch the snow fall. Happy Winter everyone!