Winter Weather Safety Tips

Pets need extra protection, as the winter settles in. As most pet owners know winter can be a challenge for our pets. Provided are a few winter safety tips to ensure your pet has a safe and healthy season.

Arthritis

Cold, damp weather aggravates arthritis in pets, which means ‘inflammation of the joints’. Arthritis can appear in pets that are young but most commonly middle aged, overweight or those that suffered from a fracture as the bone can be susceptible to arthritis after the injury is healed. The signs exacerbate in colder weather as you may notice your pet licking at its joints, experience stiffness in the morning, struggling to move and taking a while to warm up. Arthritis causes a constant and nagging pain. Though you may not think your pet is hurting, they may be masking the symptoms and living with the pain. If you see any signs of arthritis in your pet, make an appointment today on 028 3752 6777. Never medicate your pet with human prescription or over-the-counter medications only give prescribed medication to your pet.

Frostbite & Hypothermia

Outdoor pets can withstand fairly cold temperatures if they have adequate shelter, access to water that is not frozen and extra food to generate body heat. Pets can get frostbite and hypothermia so don’t leave them outdoors too long if there is no shelter provided. Remember if it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for your pet. Bring them inside.

Hypothermia is caused by exposure to cold weather causing your pet’s body temperature to fall below normal. Because your pet has a fur coat does not mean they are protected from the winter climate. Your pets ears, paws and tail can rapidly develop frostbite when exposed to winter conditions. Frostbite occurs when your pets body gets cold and blood from the extremities is pulled to the centre 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.

If you suspect your pet is suffering from hypothermia or frostbite acting quickly and correctly could save your pet’s life. Follow this procedure;

  • Immediately remove your pet from the cold environment and take them into warm, but not hot, surroundings. Warming up too quickly can be harmful.
  • Ensure your pet is dry. If they are wet then dry them gently with a towel.
  • Gradually raise your pet’s body temperature, either using a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel, or a hair dryer on a low heat.
  • Then call us immediately on 028 3752 6777 to arrange for your pet to be examined and follow any further guidelines provided by the vet.

Ice Melting Chemicals & Salt

Ice melting chemicals and salt placed across sidewalks and roads can cause severe burning to your dog and cat’s footpads. Be sure to rinse and dry your pet’s paws, with a warm wet towel if you suspect contamination. Products 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.

Gear Up For Winter Walking

When walking pets in the snow or freezing temperatures, follow these guidelines:

  • Put a suitable winter coat on pets with thin, fine hair
  • Try to walk in daylight hours; if walking in the dark wear reflective clothing, bring a torch and use a glowing collar & lead particularly on dark haired pets
  • Towel dry your dog as soon as you get home or use a hair dryer on low at a distance

 Keep Cats On Their Toes

Keep cats in at night to reduce the risk of road traffic accidents but you need to prevent them from becoming lazy. Cats get bored very easily so introduce new games and toys to exercise your cats body and mind.

Wrap Up Small Pets

Because of their size small furry pets are very susceptible to temperature changes. As temperature drops, you should bring them indoors or move their hutch to a car-free garage. Ensure the hutch is dry, well ventilated and has extra warm bedding.

Pets in harsh winter climates need extra protection during the snowy, icy winter months. These winter safety tips will help keep pets comfortable and safe this winter. But if you suspect your pet has suffered an injury from any of the hazards above please contact us immediately on 028 3752 6777.