You might have noticed that some people seem to thrive in the winter, while others do their utmost to stay close to the fireplace with a nice, warm throw wrapped around them. Pets are not much different in that some seem to enjoy romping around in snow, while others seem quite reluctant to put one paw on the cold ground. Keeping your pets safe in the winter involves paying attention to their cues and considering that if you wouldn’t want to spend several hours out in the cold, chances are that neither would they. That goes for being properly dressed, too – a nice sweater or jacket is not a bad idea to protect them from the cold. When they return indoors, give them the pet bedding equivalent of that nice, warm throw, and they’ll definitely appreciate it.
If you have an older pet, take the same precautions you would with an aging parent who has arthritis, as they could be suffering from it, as well. For example, limit time outdoors on cold, wet days and provide comfortable bedding.
Be aware of the signs of hypothermia, including shivering, whining, lethargy, and anxious behavior. If you notice any of these, just warming them up may not be enough. Call your vet to get advice and schedule an appointment if necessary.
You should also be sure to check your pets’ feet when they come back indoors if there is the possibility that they could have picked up salt during their walk. It is not good to leave this on their paws, as it is corrosive and causes them to dry out, become irritated, and crack. In addition, if they lick it off themselves, it can cause damage to their internal organs. They can also get road salt on their nose, so give that a quick check too. If your pet exhibits weakness, fatigue, loss of appetite, a temperature spike, seizure or tremor, excessive thirst, is vomiting, or has diarrhea, you should seek medical attention, as it could be road salt poisoning. Given the dangers involved with road salt, it is also advisable to be proactive, by using booties or protecting your pet’s paw pads with a balm or petroleum jelly.
Winter preparations involve staying well-stocked on supplies, and that goes for your pets, as well. Be sure to have plenty of pet food on hand and enough stored water for them to drink if there is a disruption in the water supply due to weather conditions.
It isn’t just your own pets to consider when it comes to winter safety. If you have feral cats in your neighborhood, anything you can do to provide them with an insulated, dry environment will be helpful. In addition, be sure to check under the hood of your car, as cats and other animals can sometimes seek shelter there to enjoy the warmth of the engine when you last came home.
If you have a pet that suffers from arthritis and you would like advice for making them more comfortable during the winter or you have a pet that isn’t doing well and you are concerned about road salt poisoning or hypothermia, don’t hesitate to contact us at Mooresville Animal Hospital. We are happy to discuss ways to keep your pets safe this winter. Call today to learn more.