5 Tips for Keeping Pets Safe in Cold Weather
1. Check Under Your Car
Cats in particular may find your car a warm and cozy place to snuggle. In fact, many have been found hiding under the hood, on top of the wheels, and in other confined vehicle spaces. Check under your car and bang on the hood to startle any feline stowaways. This is still a great winter pet safety tip even if you don’t have a cat, as strays can also take cover under your vehicle.
It’s not all risk and danger. Winter offers opportunities to play in the snow, explore beautiful frosty scenery, and keep warm by the fireplace. Keeping your pet safe in cold weather is essential, but it won’t be difficult if you’re prepared. Remaining diligent is the best thing you can do as a pet parent; plan for the cold months ahead of time, know how cold is too cold for your pet, and be ready to manage a variety of scenarios.
2. Know the Signs of Frostbite and Hypothermia
Though rare, frostbite and hypothermia can be fatal to pets who are exposed to severely cold weather. Limit the time your dog or cat spends outdoors and watch out for signs and symptoms.
Frostbite – Wet pets are most susceptible to frostbite, which occurs when extreme cold damages the skin. Signs include blue or gray discoloration where the skin is affected, swelling, dead skin patches, blisters, and coldness of the skin.
Hypothermia – This medical condition occurs when pets exhibit body temperatures much lower than normal. Symptoms include difficulty breathing, muscle stiffness, weakness, and even coma.
If you suspect your pet has contracted frostbite or hypothermia, move them to a warm, dry area and call your veterinarian
3. Clean Up Antifreeze Spills
Using antifreeze responsibly is one of the most important ways to keep pets safe in winter. Because antifreeze contains an organic compound called ethylene glycol, it is highly dangerous to pets if ingested. According to pet helsp, just one tablespoon can cause kidney failure in dogs and a teaspoon can be fatal to cats.
Symptoms of antifreeze ingestion include drooling, seizures, excessive thirst and urination, and vomiting. Make sure your pet does not get close to areas where you use antifreeze and thoroughly clean any spills. Contact your veterinarian immediately if you believe your pet has ingested antifreeze.
4. Keep Up with Grooming
You may be tempted to leave your pet’s coat alone during the cold months, but winter is actually a critical time for grooming. Comb your fur kid’s coat regularly and work your way through mats and tangles; waiting until spring will only make combing more difficult for you and painful for your pet. Plus, trimming hair on your pet’s paws can help prevent salt or chemicals from getting stuck. Because regular bathing helps prevent dry skin, it’s also important to keep up with your pet’s bath time schedule.
5.Create a Pet First Aid Kit
With winter weather often comes power outages and snowy, dangerous roads. In the event you need pet supplies or are not able to get to the vet during an emergency, you should prepare a pet first aid kit with items such as:
• Self-adhesive bandage webbing
• Hydrogen peroxide
• Cotton balls
• Antibacterial ointment
• Anti-diarrhea medicine
• Gauze pads
• Latex gloves
In addition, you should keep a four-day supply of easily stored pet food and water. Stock up on any medications your four-legged friend may need, too.