As winter brings a chilly embrace, it’s crucial to be proactive in ensuring the well-being of our four-legged friends. The frosty season brings not only joy, but also potential hazards for dogs and cats. Here are some winter safety tips to keep your pets healthy and happy.
- Beware of Common Toxins: One of the most overlooked dangers during winter is antifreeze. This sweet-tasting liquid is highly toxic to pets, and even a small amount can be fatal. Ensure all antifreeze containers are securely stored, and immediately clean up any spills. If you suspect your pet has ingested antifreeze, seek emergency veterinary care immediately.
- Protect Those Paws: Cold temperatures, ice, and salted sidewalks can be harsh on your pet’s paws. To prevent discomfort or injury, consider investing in pet-friendly booties. If your furry friend resists wearing them, be diligent about wiping their paws with a damp cloth after walks to remove salt and ice.
- Winter Grooming: Long-haired breeds may benefit from a winter trim to minimize snow and ice becoming trapped in fur in freezing conditions. However, be cautious not to shave your pet entirely, as their fur provides insulation against the cold.
- Cozy up: While some pets relish the winter weather, others may prefer the warmth of indoor comfort. Ensure your pet has a cozy and well-insulated bed in a draft-free area.
- Signs of Hypothermia: It’s crucial to recognize the signs of hypothermia in pets. Shivering, lethargy, and difficulty walking are common symptoms. If you are concerned, bring your pet indoors immediately, wrap them in warm blankets, and contact your veterinarian. Severe hypothermia requires prompt emergency veterinary care.
- Indoor Enrichment: Cold weather can often mean less time spent outdoors. Keep your pet mentally stimulated with interactive toys and games. Puzzle feeders or treat-dispensing toys can provide mental and physical stimulation, helping to prevent boredom and anxiety.
- Regular Veterinary Check-ups: Discuss any concerns or changes in behavior with your primary care veterinarian. They can provide specific advice based on your pet’s age, breed, and overall health.
It is essential to prioritize the safety and well-being of our pets across the seasons. Creating a cozy and hazard-free environment will help pets thrive throughout the winter season. If you have any specific concerns or questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to your veterinarian. Stay warm and keep those tails wagging!
Dr. Sophie Kindberg-Hanlon, BVetMed, PGCertSAS, MRCVS grew up in the British countryside surrounded by animals and always wanted to be a veterinarian. She graduated from the Royal Veterinary College of the University of London and practiced in London for several years before relocating to Washington, D.C with her husband. Dr. Kindberg-Hanlon joined Friendship’s Primary Care Department in June 2023. In addition to her clinical work she serves on the Board of Veterinary Medicine in D.C.