As the temperature drops during the winter months, here are a few cold weather cautions and tips to follow to help keep your pets safe and comfortable:
Step 1: Alert hidden guests…
Bang on the hood of your car before starting it up. Cats have been known to crawl up into the engine compartments of cars to keep warm when it is cold outside. By thumping on the hood you give the cat a chance to escape before starting the motor.
Step 2: Be visible at night…
Consider wearing reflective clothing when walking your dog in early mornings or evenings. You can also purchase reflective collars and leashes or even vests for your pet to make you more visible to motorists during shorter winter days.
Step 3: Protect the paws…
Make sure to thoroughly wash and dry your pet’s feet after taking walks in cold weather. This helps remove salt, chemicals and de-icers from your pet’s paws. Check the pads for sores and cracks also. De-icing products can potentially cause sores on your pet’s paws or even internal toxicity if ingested.
Other necessary paw protection may include special “snow booties” for dogs who love to play outside in the snow for extended periods. Ask for them at your local pet supply store, or google “dog snow booties” to find them online.
Step 4: Watch for antifreeze
Check for leaks of antifreeze from your vehicle, and quickly clean up any spills. Antifreeze can be lethal to cats and dogs. Consider using products that contain propylene glycol instead of ethylene glycol.
Step 5: Use caution on ride-alongs
Never leave your pet alone in a car in freezing temperatures.
Dog coats and photos courtesy of Blue Willow Dog Coats
Step 6: Bundle them up
Consider a sweater for short-haired, small or elderly pets when spending any extended amount of time outdoors. Online sources of dog coats abound… some breed-specific ones even give a portion of their proceeds to their breed’s rescue.
All of us here at Bothell Pet Hospital hope these tips will help you and your pet(s) enjoy another warm, safe and healthy winter together!