My Top Favorite Winter Safety Tips For Pet Owners

You are already probably aware of the problems that warm weather can pose for our pets, but did you know that there are also threats to your pets in cold weather, too?

Here are my top favorite winter safety tips for pet owners:

Limit time spent outdoors: Be aware of your pet’s tolerance for cold weather and adjust accordingly. Some pets would spend all day outside during a blizzard and be okay. However, some may only be able to be outside just long enough to relieve themselves and come back in. For help in determining what would best suit your pet, check with your local veterinarian. When in doubt, if it’s too cold for you, it very well may be too cold for them, too.

Use a leash and keep ID updated: Always keep your dog on a leash when outside on snow or ice, but especially during a snowstorm. Dogs can become disoriented with the falling snow or ice, lose their scent, and then lose their sense of direction if they were to get away from you. Your best bet is to keep them on a leash and make sure that their identification is on and up to date should they accidentally wander off.

Keep pets warm: If your dog has a shorter coat, or is easily chilled, consider a coat or sweater to help them keep warm when they are outside. Have several options available, so that you can choose a different one should any become too wet. You can also use pet booties to help keep your dog’s feet warm and dry. Just be sure that they fit properly. Brush your pets daily instead of clipping their coats too short. This will help keep them healthy, clean, and mat-free.

Check paws and wipe fur: When you return home from your walk, check your dog’s paws to make sure they are free from ice, salt, and antifreeze, or other harmful chemicals. Also take note if they have cold-weather injuries or damage, such as cracked or bleeding pads. Wipe your dog’s paws and undersides to make sure there are no harmful chemicals on them that could result in poisoning if the dog licks his/her feet or fur.

Prevent poisoning: Antifreeze, even in very small doses, can be lethal to pets. Many animals are attracted to antifreeze because of its sweet taste. Make sure to clean up spills immediately, and thoroughly, and consider finding an animal-friendly brand. Please be sure to store the antifreeze out of reach of your pets as well.

Plan ahead: Cold weather also includes the risk of severe winter weather. This can include ice storms, blizzards, and power outages. Plan ahead and have an emergency kit ready for both yourself and your pets. These kits should include enough food, water, and medicine for at least five days.

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