When winter arrives, we bundle up to go outside, spend most of our time in the safety of the warm indoors and can’t wait to curl up in a pile of fluffy blankets. Your pets want the same things, too. With this in mind, here are six cold weather pet safety tips from your trusted veterinarian in Egg Harbor Township, NJ:
- Schedule a winter wellness exam: Arthritis and other medical conditions in pets can worsen in cold weather, causing pain and stiff joints. So, even if your pet is on medication, you should still take him or her in for a preventative care exam at least once a year. When your pet sees the vet during the colder months, they will be checked from head to tail to make sure their health is good.
- Know your pet’s limits: Keep in mind that your pet’s cold tolerance will depend on their fat stores, health, coat thickness and activity level in winter. For instance, shorthaired dogs will need to wear a doggie jacket when going outside, and elderly arthritic dogs could get cold and wet after slipping on icy sidewalks. Keep dogs warm if going outside and take shorter walks, or consider staying inside on snow days to play games instead.
- Check those paws: The cold ground can injure or damage your dog’s paw pads. Can’t get your dog to wear dog booties outside? While on walks, check for cracked or bleeding pads, and be attentive to sudden lameness, which could be a sign of injury or an ice buildup between your pup’s toes. Again, take shorter outdoor walks on colder days, or avoid them altogether.
- Wipe down pets: Ice, snow or rain on the ground can contain antifreeze, deicers and other toxic chemicals, all of which your dog may come in contact with during walks. For this reason, when you get back home, it’s important that you wipe down your pet’s paws, legs and underside to remove potentially poisonous chemicals. Do this immediately so they don’t lick poisonous substances off their fur.
- Prevent poisoning: On a similar note, make sure to clean up poisonous things around your property, both inside and outside. Clean up antifreeze and other chemical spills right away—antifreeze especially, since even the smallest amount can be deadly to pets. Also, harsh winter weather means your pets will be indoors more. They may root through off-limit areas of the home out of boredom, so keep medications, household chemicals and dangerous human foods out of their reach.
- Make noise before you drive: Outdoor cats and other small animals may seek shelter under car hoods or in wheel wells to keep warm when temperatures drop. To avoid accidentally injuring or killing outdoor creatures, make noise before you drive away. Bang on the hood and trunk, or honk the horn in an effort to scare off any animals that are hiding, and even look under your vehicle.
Need to schedule a wellness exam this winter? Then contact Newkirk Family Veterinarians to see a compassionate veterinarian in Egg Harbor Township, NJ today!