6 Winter Hazards for Dogs and Cats

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By Dr. Jack Stephens, founder and president of Pets Best, a pet insurance company for dogs and cats
A furry dog sits outside in the snow. The cold Winter conditions can mean problems for dogs and cats.

The bitter cold winter months always bring a slew of new hazards for our four legged family members. Here are six common winter hazards I’ve seen as a veterinarian and the president of a pet insurance company.

1. Frostbite

All dogs are susceptible to frostbite, but it’s more common among dogs that aren’t used to being outdoors.

Frostbite starts out as a blemish and turns to a blister and turns black when there is severe tissue damage. When it turns black, that area will slough off and be subject to secondary infection. The dog can lose a toe if subjected to prolonged exposure.

2. Ice Melt Burns

Ice melts can make dogs sick by walking on them and then licking their paw and digesting the ice melt. Watch for limping, excessive licking of feet and redness to skin areas between pads.

3. Dehydration

With the cold weather, water bowls for outside pets can freeze easily and prevent your pets from getting the water they need.

4. Antifreeze Toxicity

Cold weather brings about the need to put antifreeze in our cars. Antifreeze tastes sweet to dogs and cats and a very small amount can be fatal if ingested.

5. Rodenticide Toxicity

The cold weather often drives critters towards warmth. Reaching for rat bait or mouse poison can see like the logical choice, but the poison has been flavored to be enticing to eat, and many pets will readily eat it if given the chance. If left untreated, rodenticide poisoning can be fatal.

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6. Arthritis

Cold weather can exacerbate some older pets’ achy joints.

By being aware of potential winter dangers for pets you can help prevent them and be better prepared if you encounter one of these hazards. Remember to always have pet insurance for your pets just in case your pet does have an accident or illness.

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