As the cold weather approaches, many pet owners don’t know how to protect their loved ones from the cold!
Here’s a few things to remember as the snow starts to fall:
If your dog doesn’t have a plush fur coat make sure to bundle him/her up when the temperature drops! Be extra careful to ensure that your male pooch doesn’t urinate on the belly strap because this can exacerbate frostbite!
Be sure to use pet friendly “salt” for ice, and if you’re not sure what your neighbors are using or your apartment complex uses regular salt, make sure to either have your pup wear booties or wipe their feet before coming inside! The salt can cause mild skin irritation and if ingested, can cause some gastrointestinal issues (think vomiting/diarrhea). I know my pups hate the salt, and seem to really be affected by the salt if it gets stuck between their toes, so make sure to pay close attention to where your pups are walking and clean their feet if you have no choice but to walk on the salt!
Check your car!
Although it’s advised to keep your cat indoors during the winter (if not all year round) there are some who still let their cat outside. Strays and outdoor cats look for warmth and what better place but under the hood of your car? Make sure to bang on your hood BEFORE you turn on your car, especially if you see paw prints on your hood!
Frost bite bites!
A short walk outside is probably not going to cause a problem, but if you take your dog out for prolonged periods of time they can develop problems that can result in frost bite (or worse).
Their ears, prepuce, vulva, tail, and toes are especially susceptible to cold so keep an eye out for the following signs:
– Coolness to touch
– Eventual sloughing of the tissue (necrosis or death of the tissue will cause it to essentially fall off – think about what happens to people who climb Mount Everest frost bite leads to loss of tissue).
If you do notice any signs of frost or frostbite, make sure to bring your pet into a sheltered, warm area immediately. DO NOT actively heat any area, it’s important that the areas of your pet that are essentially frozen be re-warmed slowly to prevent further injury. It is also important not to rewarm the area until it can be kept warm. If you warm the area and then have to re-expose the area to the cold air, you can cause more damage. If you have no warm water nearby breathe on the area through cupped hands being careful not to touch the area too much. You can also use your body heat to slowly warm the area.
It’s important in all of these cases to seek veterinarian advice to make sure pain medication, salves, or antibiotics aren’t necessary.
Keep your pets safe and warm this winter!!!