5 Extreme Winter Hazards to Pets
Protect Dogs and Cats During Blizzard Conditions
As what is gearing up to be a blizzard of mass proportions hits the Northeast and Canada, more than 200 million people will be affected by freezing temperatures, power outages, frozen pipes and gnarly traffic jams—that is, if you can make it out of the house.
Our pets are not immune to these extreme cold weather conditions. Five hazards to be aware of when it comes to your four-legged companions include:
Antifreeze can leak from a car radiator on to your driveway, garage and on the street where cars may be parked.The sweet taste of this extremely toxic poison is unfortunately alluring to pets. One lick of antifreeze is enough to poison your dog or cat in a very short amount of time. Immediate veterinary care is required.
Your pet's body temperature can fall below normal when exposed to cold temperatures for a period of time. Just because your dog has a fur coat does not mean he is protected from the winter climate. Older pets and those in poor health are at higher risk. Hypothermia can lead to cardiac arrest, among other severe ailments that will require veterinary care.
Your pet’s ears, paws and tail can rapidly develop frostbite when exposed to winter conditions.Frostbite occurs when your pet’s body gets cold and blood from the extremities is pulled to the center of the body in an attempt to retain warmth. Ice crystals form, damaging the tissue.
If you see ice crystals, don’t try to remove them; take your pet to your veterinarian immediately.
4. Ice-Melting Chemicals and Salt
Ice-melting chemicals and salt placed across sidewalks and roads can cause severe burning to your dog and cat's footpads. Wash your pet's paws if you suspect contamination. Products such as Musher's Secret can be applied to footpads prior to going outside and may help reduce the pain caused by road salt and chemicals. You may also consider buying a set of pet-safe booties that your dog can wear when outside.
5. Sharp Objects Under Snow
Dangerous objects such as glass, sharp rocks or discarded trash that can cause lacerations can be easily hidden under the snow or salt on roads and walk ways. Your pet can step on these and harm himself, or ingest one of these objects and be subjected to foreign body ingestion or toxic poisoning.
Try to keep pets indoors during blizzard conditions. Remember that pets can also become lost during snowy conditions. Contact your family veterinarian if you suspect your pet has suffered an injury due to an extreme winter hazard.