We may only get a thin dusting of snow in our neck of the woods, but winter pet safety is still at the top of our minds at the moment. Each pet is an individual, and the colder months affect them all differently. 

Whether your pet doesn’t mind a romp outside in the colder months, or prefers to snuggle up by the fire, these winter pet safety tips from Godspeed Animal Care are worth keeping in mind.

Winter Wear

Winter brings longer nights and shorter days. If you are walking your dog in the early morning or evening, be sure that she is visible to drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists. Invest in a reflective vest or leash and collar, or even a blaze orange vest if she’s out in a rural area; you won’t want hunters to mistake her for a wild animal. 

It may also make sense to consider a jacket or sweater if your pet is older or prone to getting cold. Snow, wind, and ice make paw pads susceptible to cracking or drying, so protect them from the elements with paw balm or a pair of boots.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

A pet’s tolerance for cold weather varies with age, species, breed, and overall general health. Any pet can suffer from frostbite, hypothermia, or other cold weather injuries. A pet’s fur coat is not sufficient to protect them from the elements, so always bring pets indoors when the weather turns cold. 

Outdoor cats and other pets can be provided with shelter as well, either in a barn, shed, or garage. You could also build one of these DIY outdoor cat shelters for feral or neighborhood cats. 

Keep in mind that outdoor cats often seek warmth warm car engines, so be sure to pop the hood and take a look or honk your horn before turning on the ignition.  

Winter Pet Safety When Out And About

One of the most common pet emergencies in the winter is antifreeze toxicity. This common product is highly toxic to pets and even deadly. Unfortunately, it is also sweet tasting and attractive to pets. Clean up any spills immediately, and keep it stored well out of pets’ reach. 

If there is ice on the road, salt or other deicing chemicals may be used. These chemicals are a hazard to winter pet safety, so never let your pet drink from roadside puddles, and make sure you rinse and dry feet, bellies, and chests when you return from a jaunt outside. 

Holiday Hazards

The holiday season brings an abundance of joys, and also some very common pet emergencies. Keep the following in mind:

  • Secure Christmas trees to the wall if you have a tree climbing (or curious) cat or dog.
  • Don’t use raffia, ribbon, or tinsel as they can be ingested and cause a foreign body obstruction.
  • Clean up pine needles around trees promptly, and don’t let your dog or cat drink from the tree water.
  • Holly, mistletoe, and poinsettias are toxic to pets. Keep these and all holiday decor well out or reach.
  • Chocolate and Xylitol sweetened treats can cause GI upset and severe toxicity, even death. Keep all treats away from your pets.
  • Fatty foods such as turkey skin, gravy, and high salt casseroles can wreak havoc on your pet’s digestive system, and even cause a condition called pancreatitis
  • Keep leftovers out of pets’ reach, and keep garbage bins tightly lidded to avoid GI problems.
  • When entertaining guests, make sure they know and understand the rules when it comes to your pets.

Do you have any more winter pet safety tips to add to the list? Post on our FaceBook page, or let us know the next time you visit. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to give us a call