Winter Safety for Cats and Dogs – 10 Easy Tips
As winter sets in the days become shorter, the temperature drops and the snow starts to fly. Some cats and dogs will be curious – enjoying every chance to have fun outside while others will prefer the warmth of the house. For you as a responsible pet owner this season means taking a quick moment to reacquaint oneself with some basic winter pet care tips.
Watch out for salt
The salt used to melt ice on streets, sidewalks and staircases can severely irritate cat and dog feet and when they lick their feet to clean them they can suffer stomach and intestinal irritation. There are products on the market designed to melt snow that won’t make your pets sick but not everyone uses them. The easiest way to avoid potential problems is to rinse their feet when they come in.
Beware of anti-freeze
Did you know that anti-freeze has a sweet taste that is attractive to dogs and cats? But anti-freeze contains ethylene glycol – which is extremely deadly for animals. Make sure you store anti-freeze carefully and periodically check for leaks around your car. Better yet, you can use a safer product that doesn’t contain ethylene glycol. There are several on the market and though they cost a little more, think of the vet bill and tragedy you could be avoiding.
Check your vehicle before starting it
Cats like to climb onto and into recently parked cars to stay warm. Before you start your car, knock on the hood to warn any unsuspecting feline that it’s time to get out of there. Look at your wheel wells and under the vehicle to be sure no one is sleeping there.
Outdoor pets need shelter
Have an outdoor pet? Be sure that he or she has shelter from the wind, snow and ice. A sturdy dog house with some form of bedding will help. Animals all need a supply of fresh water. Check water bowls frequently to be sure they’re not frozen.
Holiday feasts can be deadly
Winter time means holiday foods and candies. Be very careful not to leave any unattended foods – especially chocolates. Raisins and grapes are also toxic to some dogs. The artificial sweetener Xylitol is deadly to dogs and cats. Xylitol is found in sugar free gum and some candies. Check labels carefully.
Watch out for deadly holiday plants
Some plants that we find around the holidays can be toxic or irritants to dogs and cats. Poinsettia plants produce an irritating liquid that can burn an animal’s mouth and throat and cause stomach distress. Keep them well out of reach. Holly berries and mistletoe can be deadly.
Beware of heater dangers
Space heaters can not only cause a burn to a pet that gets too close, but if knocked over or moved slightly can cause house fires.
Holiday decorations can be hazardous
Tinsel is very attractive to animals, especially cats. It sparkles when it moves and can lure an otherwise well behaved pet. Chewing tinsel, which is metallic, can cut up the esophagus and intestinal walls. Going away for the holidays? Read how to take care of your cat and dog while away.
Candles can be dangerous
Never leave candles unattended. Keep candles high enough so curious dogs can’t reach them and if you have cats, remember they can go almost anywhere to check out an interesting item. Keep candles away from curtains, and other flammables. A slight nudge from a curious kitty can cause disaster, not only for the cat, but for the entire family.
The old and the young need extra care
Very young, very old, and those cats and dogs who are recovering from illness or surgery have more trouble maintaining their body heat. They feel the cold more than others. A warm blanket in their bed and a sweater when they go outside will greatly help comfort your pet. Remember to keep outdoor time short and be sure they have a warm spot to rest when they come back in.
The winter months are fun months for your dog. Exercising a little vigilance around your dog is being a responsible pet owner. Keep your pet active and keep an eye on his or her diet. If you are traveling, remember that Jet Pet Resort is available to you and always on short notice for existing clients. We also have a renowned daycare program and we are one of the only facilities in the greater Vancouver area that offers weekend daycare. Remember, at Jet Pet Resort we strive to create fun, memorable experiences for pets through loving, professional care.
Still work during the holidays? check out Taking Care of a Dog While You’re Busy Working