Winter Pet Safety Tips

We hope our animal hospital’s winter pet safety tips help your pet enjoy the season to the fullest. Love it or hate it, winter is here to stay for the next several months, and it can be hazardous for pets as well as people! The most important takeaways are these: making sure your pet stays warm, preventing ice and snow-related injuries, and using antifreeze and sidewalk salt wisely. Read on to learn more!

Holiday Pet Safety: A Dog Wearing a Coat and Out in the Snow

Can Pets Really Get Frostbite?

Unfortunately they can—even a thick fur coat can’t prevent frostbite on the tips of the ears, the paw pads, and even on the nose if your pet is outdoors long enough. To make it simple, consider this: If it’s too cold outside for you, then it’s also too cold for your pet!

If your pet insists on going for their daily walk or spending more time outside in the yard, get them a jacket in their size. And, if they’ll allow it, consider outfitting their feet with protective booties. This will keep snow and/or sidewalk salt from sticking to their feet.

Holiday Pet Safety: A Cat Laying on Top of a Radiator Keeping Warm

Prevent Winter-Related Injuries

It’s all too easy for your pet to get excited about a romp in the yard and accidentally slip on a patch of ice or melting snow. This can result in a major sprain or strain, or even a broken bone. When taking your pet out into the yard, consider keeping them on a leash so they can’t run off. During walks, keep your eyes peeled for sheets of ice and steer your pet around them if you can. Booties can also give them a little extra traction on ice.

The Cold is Especially Hard on Senior Pets

Like humans with joint issues, dogs and cats that are advanced in years can also experience increased pain and stiffness during the winter months. Keep your beloved senior pet as warm and cozy as possible, and consider adding extra cushioning to their bed for additional comfort. Also, take time to clear away any ice and snow around your home to prevent slipping and falling.

Winter-Related Toxins

Other common health risks for pets this time of year include antifreeze and sidewalk salt. Antifreeze is highly toxic to both dogs and cats, and can be deadly if ingested. Clean up any antifreeze spills in your garage and/or driveway, and store antifreeze in a tightly sealed container in a place your pet can’t reach. Antifreeze has an enticingly sweet smell and taste that animals can’t resist.

Sidewalk salt, while less dangerous than antifreeze, can still cause problems for pets. It can hurt and irritate their paw pads, and can also burn their mouth if they lick salt residue from their paws and coat. Ingesting enough might even make them sick! Check your pet’s feet and belly for salt and wipe it away as best you can before bringing them into the house.

Have any other questions about winter pet safety? Contact our animal hospital today at (812) 897-4855 for more tips or ask your veterinarian at your next appointment!