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Cold Weather Tips for Your Pets
It’s early December and the cold weather is about to hit the Midwest with a vengeance. Are you and your pet prepared for freezing temperatures, snow and ice?
Unless your dog is a Husky, Samoyed or Malamute, he’s probably not all that thrilled with winter weather and being outdoors for too long. Going on walks will be more challenging, but with a few precautions, you and your dog can continue to enjoy exercising outdoors.
Snow and ice will accumulate between the pads of your pet’s feet, especially if the hair is longer between the pads. These “ice balls” need to be removed from your dog’s paws whenever they come in from the snow. Lingering ice balls will scratch and irritate the pads, causing pain and discomfort.
Salt and De-Icers
When walking on sidewalks and driveways that have been treated with salt or de-icers, it is important to clean your pet’s paws as soon as you are indoors. Don’t give your pet the opportunity to start licking their paws, as these ice treatments can cause gastrointestinal upset. Use a damp cloth or towel to clean your pet’s paws before the de-icing agents cause chapping and drying to the paw pads.
Pets with arthritis will be affected by cold, damp weather. Be sure to approach icy walkways with caution, so your pet doesn’t risk slipping and falling. In colder weather, cushioned and even heated bedding will benefit and relieve your arthritic pet.
The warm engine of your parked car may become a refuge for outdoor cats who are seeking warmth. Avoid injuries to them by knocking on the hood of your car or honking your horn before your put your car in gear.
Take the windchill into account when determining how long "Fido" can play out in the yard. Exposure to those extreme temperatures can cause injury is a short amount of time.
Antifreeze is a lethal poison to animals. A few licks of spilled antifreeze can cause antifreeze toxicity, and a trip to the emergency hospital. Keep your antifreeze locked up in your garage and be sure to thoroughly clean all spills immediately to protect your pet.
If you suspect your pet has suffered a cold weather injury or illness, please call your veterinarian immediately. The staff of Cascade Hospital for Animals would be happy to answer your individual questions at 616-949-0960. Enjoy the winter months!
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Cascade Hospital for Animals is a full-service Animal Hospital providing quality, compassionate medical care for dogs, cats and other small pets in the greater Grand Rapids area. Open 7 days a week to serve your needs and those of your pet.