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Shelter pets from cold, frost, and other winter dangers

Posted on: November 22nd, 2010 by

A woman and her dog play in the snow.
Don’t let your pet’s fur coat or weathered paw pads fool you. He gets cold, too. For pet health and safety, dogs and cats should remain mostly indoors during winter months; especially young pets, senior pets, and those that have pet health issues of any kind. Below are some important precautions to consider for pets during the winter months.

Keep Pets Warm
A fur coat can only do so much. One of the reasons pets enjoy cuddling close to owners, and each other, is to keep warm. Although not recommended, pets kept outside for any lengths of time need shelter from the elements in a draft-free doghouse. They need extra calories and fresh water in a plastic bowl. Metal bowls could freeze and thirsty tongues can get stuck to them.

Prolonged exposure to cold and wind can cause frostbite on their ears, nose, tail and paws. According to the article “How to Recognize, Prevent and Treat Hypothermia and Frostbite in Our Pets” by Veterinarian Elisa M. Mazzaferro, frostbite requires an immediate visit to the vet because cat and dog health issues can result, including infections, amputations, and even death.

“Some animals can be left with permanent disfiguring injuries,” wrote Mazzaferro, Director of Emergency Services at Wheat Ridge Veterinary Specialists in Colorado.

While walking, small and short-haired dogs may benefit from a sweater and paw wax to protect their paws from ice, snow, and salt.

Indoors, pets can benefit from heated pet beds and blankets. Many upscale models are designed for pet safety—they warm only with the pet’s body heat, saving on electric bills and avoiding overheating the pet.

Supervise Pets
Chilly months bring new dangers and more opportunities to pet proof the home. Pets should not be left unsupervised near space heaters, fireplaces, or candles.

On their website, The Humane Society of the United States warns that sweet-tasting antifreeze is attractive but deadly to pets. The organization advises using “antifreeze-coolant made with propylene glycol, which is less toxic in small amounts than traditional ethylene glycol antifreeze.”

Because there are so many possibilities for wintertime dangers, pet owners may want to consider purchasing pet insurance for their pets. Not only can pet insurance help with pet health bills at the veterinarian, but dog and cat insurance also provide pet owners with peace of mind.

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