Have fun in the snow, but watch out for these winter hazards!
Colder temperatures are just as critical for our pets and livestock safety as it is for ours. If our animals are not prepared for cold, wet, or snowy weather, health conditions such as frost bite, hypothermia, and death can occur. If animals need to be outside, please make sure they have adequate shelter from rain, snow, and wind. Also, fresh water, warm if possible and proper nutrition. Blankets and sweaters can help keep dogs and cats warm as well, but do not leave them unattended if they can get tangled or caught. Hair coats can be left longer to provide more warmth if needed. Below is a chart to help you know when it is too cold for your pet. When it is too cold for us to be outside, then it is too cold for our pets.
Sidewalk Ice Melts:
Ice melts can be very irritating to skin and paws. They can also cause drooling and nausea. Most of these products are severe gastric irritants and will cause vomiting. First know the ingredients in your ice melt products so if your pet does ingest it, your veterinarian will be better able to help. If your dog or cat ingests a large amount, it can affect their electrolyte levels and will need treatment to correct it. Removing the contact with pet’s feet and hair by wiping them down after contact or having them wear outdoor paw booties will greatly reduce exposure. Please call your veterinarian if you have concerns about your pet consuming the de-icing salts.
Exercise is important in winter as well as the warmer months. Snow and our pets can be a lot of fun, however they face many of same risks as we do. Walking or running in snow can cause muscle and joint pain, especially in our older pets. Limit activity to your pets needs and don’t overdo it. Ice and frozen snow can contribute to slipping, falling, and injury, so use caution during outside time. Taking shorter walks, or playing in yard more instead of walks on slick sidewalks may be good alternatives. Also, look for indoor canine activities such as obedience classes or indoor agility events.
We wish you a safe and fun filled winter! Happy New Year!!
Dr. Jessica Bell
Dr. David A. Rustebakke
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