Cold Weather Tips for Pets
Cold Weather Tips for Pets
Just because animals have built in fur coats doesn’t mean they are immune to the harsh realities of a Canadian winter. With a bit of thoughtful planning, your best friend will be warm and safe when the snowflakes fly.
Here are some tips for animal care in cold weather:
- Limit exposure: When the mercury plunges, exercise caution and limit your pet’s exposure to the outdoors.
- Salt: While the salt used on roads and driveways is helpful in preventing spills, it can irritate the sensitive pads on the bottom of your pet’s feet. Keep a towel by your front door and wipe down your pooch’s paws after a walk so they aren’t tempted to lick them clean.
- Fresh water: If you keep any water bowls outside for your animals during the winter, be sure to check the supply a few times a day to ensure it isn’t frozen over. If you are unable to provide fresh, clean water regularly throughout the day you need to provide an insulated, heated water bowl in order to keep the water from freezing. Clean, fresh snow is not an adequate replacement for water for an animal.
- Car engines: Cats and wildlife are drawn to the heat generated by your car’s engine on cold days. Make sure you bang on your car’s hood to avoid injuring a sleeping creature.
- Antifreeze: The taste of antifreeze is tasty to many animals, and they’ll readily consume it if given the chance. But even a small amount of antifreeze can be harmful, or even fatal, to your pet.
- When adding antifreeze to your vehicle, pour carefully and clean up any spills that may occur. It’s also a good idea to check that your car isn’t leaking fluid. A quick look under the hood will help keep your own animals, and those in the neighbourhood, safe.
- If your pet does come in contact with antifreeze — either by ingesting it directly, or by licking exposed paws — you should be looking for signs of vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, unconsciousness, drooling and panting. If you suspect antifreeze ingestion, it’s important to act quickly, as the poisoning can cause kidney failure. Call your veterinarian immediately to avoid complications.
- You may want to consider a less toxic alternative to the ethylene glycol-based antifreeze that is most commonly used. There is new propylene glycol-based antifreeze available at many retail outlets that is safer for pets and humans alike.
- Entertain wisely: The winter season is a peak time for at-home parties and other get-togethers. It may be a good idea to keep animals away from the bustle and noise during a party. If everyone does mingle together, keep an eye on your pets to make sure they don’t sneak any of the festive food and drink.
- Identification: Having an animal run away from home at any time of the year is troublesome, but especially during the winter season. Make sure your best friends are equipped with proper identification, including a collar, tag and microchip to ensure they have the best possible chance of finding their way back to you.