The colder months of the year bring a lot of fun and joy to our lives – snowball fights, fireside chats, holiday celebrations, and more – but can also be unnerving or even hazardous for our pets. From cold weather substances to party cuisine, here is a list of important reminders for pet-owners during winter:
1.Beware of Antifreeze
Unfortunately, antifreeze can drip from a car radiator to the ground, where animals might attempt lick it. Antifreeze is lethal to pets, and less than three ounces can poison a medium-sized dog. To prevent antifreeze poisoning, store it in a tightly-closed container out of reach of pets and do not allow pets to wander unattended where there is access to antifreeze.
2. Bundle Up in Harsh Weather
As it gets colder, pet owners should take extra steps to ensure their pets stay warm and healthy. To start, bathe your pet as little as possible since it can remove essential oils and cause dry, flaky skin. Buy a coat for your dog, especially if he or she is short-haired. No animals should be left outside for long periods of time. Also, pets burn off extra energy in the winter to stay warm, therefore consider feeding your pet a bit more! Finally, bang on the hood of your car before starting it since stray cats occasionally crawl under car hoods to warm up on the engine.
3. Tree Decorations Can Be Toxic
Bright, fun objects are mesmerizing for our pets, which can cause accidents. Here are some tips to keep your pets, and ornaments, safe (specifically for climbing cats)! Keep your most valued, glass ornaments high up on the tree and secure them tightly. Avoid using tinsel! Although pretty, ingesting a few strands can make your pet ill, and have deadly effects such as intestinal obstruction. The same goes for edible ornaments, mistletoe, and liquid potpourri.
4. Avoid Road Salt
While industrial salt used to melt snow is helpful for cars, it is hazardous for dogs. These salts have added chemicals which cause skin irritation by drying, cracking, and sometimes burning a dogs paws. Some dogs may lick the salt off their paws, accidentally swallowing what can be toxic chemicals. After a wintery walk, please wipe your pets paws down or dunk them in a pan full of soapy, warm water. To prevent any contact with road salt, consider doggy boots!
5. Holiday Food Can Make Pets Ill
Although we want our pets to enjoy the holidays with us, our loving intentions can be harmful. Do not allow your pets to eat table food and do not give them excessive treats. Grapes, raisins, chocolate, and alcohol found in holiday cakes are toxic to pets. Also, some bones can splinter when a dog is chewing them as well as pierce intestines.
6. Strangers Coming In and Out Can Be Alarming
Having a large gathering of family and friends can be a fun holiday party for you, but an overwhelming activity for your pets (especially cats). If your pet is noise-phobic, shy, very old or young, untrained, or reactive, he or she should be put in a separate room away from the festivities. Signs that your pet is anxious includes tucking its tail, laying its ears back, or licking its lips.
7. Boarding Tips During Holiday Travel
If you want to board your pet while traveling, ask your vet for recommendations and make sure the boarding facility you are interested in requires vaccinations. Take a tour of the facility before committing. On the tour, make sure the kennel is clean and well-ventilated so your dog can avoid kennel cough or dog flu. Finally, leave detailed instructions, food, medicine, multiple emergency contacts, and always make sure your dog is up to date on their vaccinations!
We hope these tips will help you and your pet enjoy this winter and many more to come. Now go snuggle up with your furry friend and stay warm together! Baby, it’s cold outside!