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How to Keep Your Pet Safe This Winter

Winter can be hard on all of us, but it can be particularly challenging for our pets, who may still spend a significant amount of time outside. Be proactive about your pet’s safety this cold season by reviewing these winter pet safety tips. 

Keep Your Pet Indoors 

While it may not be possible to keep your pet inside constantly, as they will need to relieve themselves or become restless, try to keep their outdoor time to a minimum. If circumstances require your pet to spend extended periods outdoors, be sure they have a dry, enclosed structure they can shelter in to avoid the effects of the bitter cold. Prolonged time outside could result in hypothermia or frostbite and require an emergency veterinary trip.  

Beware of Salt or Chemicals 

Salt and other chemicals we use to melt the snow and ice in our driveways are winter necessities for humans but dangerous for our pets. The chemicals used on your driveway or walkway are hazardous to pets. If overly exposed, the chemicals irritate your pet’s paws and can lead to more harmful outcomes. Avoid this problem by wiping your pet’s paws with a damp towel each time they come inside. Watch for antifreeze leaks from your vehicles as well. Pets may be prone to tasting the antifreeze due to the ethylene glycol content that offers a sweet taste but can be fatal.

Check on Your Pet Often 

Pets cannot vocalize how they are feeling. Therefore, it may not be easy to recognize when your pet feels under the weather. Take time to thoroughly examine your pet at home for signs of cold weather-related injuries or illnesses. If your pet seems lethargic, pale, or is shivering, it may be a symptom of hypothermia. If your pet’s skin looks bluish-white, their blood flow may be restricted due to frostbite. When your pet exhibits “drunken” behavior, nausea, vomiting, or lethargy, assume they ingested antifreeze and get to your nearest veterinary clinic immediately. 

Don’t hesitate to contact your local veterinary hospital immediately for professional guidance if you notice any unusual symptoms or a shift in your pet’s normal behavior.

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