I have a wireless thermometer at my house that tells me the temperature outside from the comfort of my living room. This time of year I always take a look at it before I go out to walk my dog, Buster. This morning the digital readout said '12'. Yes, only 12 degrees, not the number that I was hoping for, but to be expected this time of year.
Buster and I bundled up and got ready for the morning cold and wind of the capital region. Of course one of the first things that Buster did was roll around on the snow while I just hoped he would keep moving on our regular morning walk.
While we walked on a path near my home Buster romped in the snow and seemed happy to be out even in the cold weather, but it made me think about the dogs, that don't get to spend most of their day on a warm couch by the radiator as Buster spends his. There are far too many dogs outside in this weather with little shelter or warmth. So i just wanted to give everyone a reminder to keep your pets safe this year...
Keep your dogs and cats away from anti-freeze : In the winter, car owners break out the anti-freeze to ensure that their vehicles start. Cats and dogs are attracted to the sweet smell and taste of anti-freeze, but it is deadly, even in small amounts. Keep a close eye on dogs and cats when they are outside and never permit them to lick anything off the street or driveway. An animal poisoned by anti-freeze may appear to be intoxicated, having trouble with balance and coordination. If you suspect your pet has ingested anti-freeze, don’t watch and wait. Take it to the vet or animal hospital immediately. Kidney failure can set in within 24 hours.
2.Limit Exposure to Cold: Dogs and cats build up winter coats over time. If your pet spends most of the time indoors, it may not have had a chance to develop a thicker coat. Let your pet develop a tolerance to the cold slowly by limiting outdoor time at the beginning of the season.
3. Streets and Sidewalks Can Irritate Paws: Once the snow begins to fall, city streets and sidewalks are often coated in salt and sand that can irritate dogs’ paws. After walks, wipe paws clean with warm water to prevent dogs from licking and ingesting salt and chemicals.
4. Your Dog May Need a Winter Coat: Small dogs and dogs with short hair can develop hypothermia in extremely cold weather. When outside for extended periods of time, make sure your dog wears a coat or protective covering. If you live in a city, you’ll know that dog coats come in all shapes, sizes and styles to express your dog’s unique personality.
5. That Goes for Boots, Too: If your dog lifts its paws and whines during walks, the pavement may be making its paws uncomfortably cold. Many companies sell dog boots in various sizes and styles. Outfitting your dog with boots will also prevent paw irritation from salt and sand.
6.Keep Cats Inside: If possible, keep cats indoors during winter months. Cats can be frostbitten on their paws and ears in very cold weather. They may also crawl under the hoods of cars for warmth, a potentially deadly situation. Given the additional risk of anti-freeze poisoning, it’s best to keep them indoors until warmer months.
7. Be Careful About Foods and Decoration: Many traditions can pose a risk to pets. Even if they beg, don’t give them bones. They can splinter in the digestive tract. Chocolate is never appropriate to give to a pet; it can be poisonous, especially to small animals. Common winter plants such as mistletoe and holly berries are dangerous if ingested and can lead to gastrointestinal and cardiovascular problems.
8.Keep Dogs on the Leash: Don’t let dogs off the leash during snowstorms. They may want to play, but can easily lose their scent and become lost in the snow. This is one of the reasons why more dogs are lost in the winter than any other time. Make sure dogs are wearing ID tags before you take them out in the snow. Getting a microchip for your pet is another great way to get them back if lost. You can get your pet chipped at the Humane Society for only $25..
9. Never Leave Pets Alone in a Car: Pets can freeze to death in very cold weather. The enclosed space of a car will not maintain sufficient heat to protect them from the cold. Leave them at home or bring them with you on your errands.
10.Move Beds and Dishes Away from Drafts: Notice whether your home has drafty areas and move pet beds and dishes away from them. The floor can be very cold, even in a warm house. If your pet does not share your bed, make sure it has a bed or cushion to sleep on to protect it from the cold.So enjoy the holiday season and the beauty that snowy weather brings, but just use a little caution with your furry friends.