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Be Aware of the Hazards of Winter on Your Pets!

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 Bo, the cat with all of the answers: The air outside is frightful, but time with your pet can still be delightful!  Ahh…freshly fallen snow, frigid temperatures, and the warm glow of the fireplace that sits before me.  I could relax right here for hours.

If you are a pet owner, there are a few winter hazards of which you should be aware.  Even though during this cold time of year most pets remain inside, reducing their risk of injury and illness, there are still some dangers lurking about, so take heed!

1.)  Space heaters.  Be careful where you put these in your home.  Don’t put it where your pet can chew on the cords.  Do not put it where your pet might be tempted to jump on it, either.  Further, make sure the temperature does not get too hot.  If your pet accidentally brushes up against it, he could get burned.

2.)  Leaving your pet alone outside or in the car or in the garage.  If a pet is left alone in colder temperatures for longer than 20 minutes, it can get risky.  Even leaving outdoor cats outside all winter increases their risk for freezing, theft, injury, and even death.  Also, as some outdoor cats tend to sleep under cards, be careful before starting your engine.

3.)  Salty sidewalks and driveways.  The salt you put on the ground to avoid slipping, while not toxic, can irritate your pet’s paws.  A good idea is to massage petroleum jelly into your pet’s foot pads before going outside and then wiping off their feet and applying some moisturizer once back inside.

4.)  Antifreeze. Estimates show that 90,000 animals die annually from antifreeze poisoning.  Just ½ of a teaspoon can prove to be deadly to a cat and ¼ cup can kill a medium-sized dog.  Please do not leave antifreeze unattended or even allow it to spill onto the floor of your garage.  It’s sweet-tasting and quite appealing to pets.  There is a non-toxic antifreeze available that has a bitter taste to it to discourage pets from licking it.

5.)  Bodies of water. If your dog loves to swim, please keep him on a leash around areas of open water or ice that is unstable.  If your pet gets into the water, hypothermia is a big risk, as it can happen quickly, and your dog may not be able to get out of the water.

6.)  Temperatures below 45 degrees.  Be on the lookout for frostbite.  Too much exposure to the cold – especially anything below 45 degrees for an extended period of time – can affect your pet’s feet, ears, nose, and tail.  While signs of frostbite may not present for a couple of days, but in severely-affected areas, the tissue will begin to die and change to a blue-black color.  Your pet may limp, experience pain, or begin to lick the affected area.  He may exhibit weakness, shivering, and lack of alertness.

There you have it!  Your winter advisory from one well-informed cat.  I think I will just stay here by the fire until March.

(Thanks to for this insightful information!)


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