Winter’s cold temperatures and precipitation can be brutal. Part of your pet wellness responsibilities includes making sure your pets are safe from the cold while they’re enjoying the outdoors. Below is more information about what risks the cold presents and how to protect your pet from them.
What Dangers Does the Cold Present?
Animals are susceptible to major conditions like frostbite and hypothermia. Signs of hypothermia include intense shivering, lethargy, labored breathing, difficulty walking, and feeling cold to the touch. Frostbite symptoms include favoring the paw that is affected, discoloration or blistering of the area, and swelling.
Other dangers aren’t so obvious. Your animal’s paws can become irritated from the salt used to treat sidewalks and roadways, causing discomfort, swelling, and redness. Your pet is also at risk for exposure to deicing chemicals and antifreeze puddles, which threaten pet wellness if ingested. Ice poses hazards as well, as animals can slip and hurt themselves or fall through thin ice into ponds or streams.
What Can You Do to Keep Your Pet Safe?
Never leave animals unsupervised or allow them to run loose outside. When you’re out with them, don’t let them lick or sniff treated surfaces or puddles that could be antifreeze. Limit the amount of time they’re outside, especially small and short-haired breeds, and avoid icy surfaces, especially frozen ponds and streams.
Before taking them out, put them in protective clothing like jackets and boots to keep them warm and limit contact with harmful substances. You should also trim their nails and the hair on the bottom of their paws to prevent snow, ice, and chemicals from collecting there, which can increase frostbite and ingestion risks. If you notice any changes in your pet’s behavior, appearance, or physical functions, call a veterinarian or take them to the closest animal hospital immediately.
A pet wellness exam will alert you to any health conditions or breed traits that make your animal more vulnerable to the cold. At Avon Animal Hospital in Livingston County, NY, your pets will receive compassionate care from a veterinarian team with decades of experience. Their animal hospital offers comprehensive care, including on-site surgery, diagnostics, and lab work. Learn more about their services online and call (585) 226-6144 to schedule a wellness exam.