Mo’s Winter Safety Tips

Original drawing by Dr. John Bialasik, DVM; 2019

Wintertime is here…

 

The weather can change drastically through the next months, so, monitor it closely and make adjustments. If it is too cold for you, it’s likely to be too cold for your pets. When pets are left outdoors without appropriate protection, pets can freeze, suffer frostbite, become disoriented, lost, stolen or injured.

 

Mo has some important tips and reminders from the ASPCA to keep your pets warm and safe.

 

Prevent Itchy, Flaking Skin

When pets are going in and out of the home, from cold temperatures into the dry heat, their coats and skin can become dry and irritated. Keep your home humidified and dry your wet pets as soon as they come indoors.

 

Reduce Washing and Bathing

This is not the best time for baths. When necessary, be sure to completely dry them and limit the times this is done. Frequent baths can remove essential oils for protecting the skin. If your dog or cat requires frequent baths, ask about a moisturizing or non-rinsing shampoo.

 

Grooming

Remove clinging ice crystals from between paws. These can become irritating and painful.

 

Antifreeze (ethylene glycol)

This is still toxic. Be sure to clean up any spills and avoid leaving containers lying around.

 

Shelter

A cozy bed with a clean, dry and warm blanket is perfect. If outside, be sure there is shelter protecting from drafts, precipitation and the cold. Feeding a little bit more for outdoor pets can provide much-needed calories. Make sure there is plenty of drinking water available. Check the water frequently to make sure it is not frozen.

 

Dogs Off-leash

Dogs can lose their scent in the snow and easily become lost or disoriented. Make sure your pets’ id tag is current and if they have a microchip it is currently registered.

 

Ice Melts Caution

These are commonly made of different salts. The most common side effect seen when your pet ingests ice melts from treated snow or licking their paws is vomiting and diarrhea. How much they consume, size and health can lead to other concerns such as electrolyte imbalances.

  • Avoid your pet eating any snow treated with ice melt.
  • Wipe your pet’s paws when coming in from outside.
  • Paw wax or doggie booties can provide an excellent barrier to minimize risk to sensitive paws.
  • Keep ice melt packages out of paws reach