Keeping our pets safe during the winter is critical for their overall health and wellness. There’s a great deal that can be done before and during the seasonal lows, and we’ve got hot tips for cold paws.
Use It or Lose It
Winter pet safety hinges on providing a pet with all the right gear to guard against the elements. To ensure that daily activities persist outside, invest in insulating clothing that keeps their core warm. If they’ll accommodate you, have them wear waterproof booties to protect the skin on their paw pads. If not, be sure to wash their feet in warm water at home afterwards to remove any ice balls in between their toes or build up of salt for deicing chemicals.
All pets, but especially senior pets and those with osteoarthritis, benefit from self-warming bedding that supports their joints and beats out drafts.
If they insist on remaining outdoors long after you decide to head indoors, watch them carefully and persuade them to come in after a few minutes. Be sure to have a warm, dry shelter for them and plenty of water.
When Is It Too Cold?
Younger animals, seniors, and those with certain medical conditions should be protected from the cold at all costs.
Hypothermia can occur when a pet’s internal temperature dips far below normal, or under 99 degrees in dogs and 100 degrees in cats. Prolonged exposure to cold temperatures can cause the following symptoms of hypothermia:
- Fluctuating heart rate (from fast to slow) and respiration (also from fast to slow breathing)
- Delayed reactions or responses
- Dilated pupils
- Consciousness issues
Hypothermia is a very real pet emergency and must be treated immediately.
Frostbite is equally common in pets during the winter months, but doesn’t carry the same risks to their overall health and longevity. Blueish white skin that feels brittle to the touch may have little to no blood circulation and must be warmed up slowly with a warm, dry towel or blanket.
Other Risks to Winter Pet Safety
Ethylene glycol, the main chemical in antifreeze products, is highly poisonous to pets, but they don’t know that when they sample the sweet syrup found on garage floors or driveways.
Luckily, there are pet-safe products available that contain propylene glycol. That said, always store bottles effectively behind closed cabinets, clean up any puddles, and discourage licking at the ground when outside. The symptoms of antifreeze poisoning include the following symptoms requiring emergency assistance:
- Loss of coordination
Winter pet safety is at the forefront of our minds this season. If you have any questions or concerns, or your pet needs a little extra support, we welcome your call at (732) 677-2180. Our veterinarians are always here for you at True Care Veterinary Hospital.
When my parents’ dog Kya died very suddenly a few years ago‚ their regular vet was not at work that day. But thankfully‚ Dr. Tullio was and treated my parents and their dog as if he was their doctor for the past 15 years—doing everything he could to try and revive Kya and by being so compassionate to my parents in the waiting room after having to deliver the sad news. We truly can’t say enough nice things about Dr. Tullio and can’t wait for him to open his new facility! Thank you.
—Lori Forrest & Bob Leahy
Doctor Tullio is a kind, caring gentleman who has cared for my cocker spaniels for many years now. He has always been helpful‚ honest‚ and understanding with my pets and me. He is a man I trust completely and have and do refer others to him. Any pet owner can feel safe and secure in trusting their beloved pets to his skilled hands.
—Margaret Rowe‚ Howell‚ NJ
Dr. Tullio has always treated our dogs with great knowledge‚ care‚ and compassion‚ and we have grown to know him quite well. We have been so completely impressed with Dr. Tullio’s consistent excellence in care and services that we wanted to share our experience with others. We are pleased to recommend as the place to go for both quality treatment and compassionate care for your furry family members.
Molly and Oscar have been patients of Dr. Tullio for several years. I have been very pleased with his care‚ his expertise‚ and his understanding with my two Wheatens. Dr. Tullio has been quick to diagnose any issues and remedy all of the problems we’ve had. I look forward to many more years working with Dr. Tullio. I wish him well in his venture.