Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Winter Pet Safety in Pittsburgh

Is winter pet safety on your agenda this season? Make it a priority to ensure that your four-legged family member stays healthy (and cozy) in the midst of freezing temperatures. Pittsburgh winters can be tough, not just for humans but for our furry friends, too. Our animal hospital recommends that you take precaution and consider all the possible risks before letting your pet outside.
If you still have questions for your veterinarian, please contact us right away.

Prevent the Risk of Frostbite

Dogs and cats are just as vulnerable to frostbite as humans are. While a fur coat can offer some protection, it can’t fight off the cold indefinitely or prevent frostbite on the tips of the ears, the nose, and even on the paw pads. If you can’t handle the cold, then your pet can’t, either! Let them stay indoors with you—provide extra cushioning for their bed (if they have one) and consider getting a pet-friendly heating pad to soothe their achy joints (if they’re advanced in age).

If you do take your pet outside for a bathroom break, keep an eye on them and let them in as soon as they’ve done their business. For walks, get a sturdy coat that suits their size and shape so they can stay warm. Huskies and Alaskan Malamutes can tolerate the cold extremely well, but an extra layer of protection doesn’t hurt.

Snow and Ice are Dangerous for Pets, Too

Pets can sustain leg injuries from slipping on ice and melting snow (kind of like us). De-ice your driveway, patio, and any pathways around your house, and sweep away puddles wherever you can. It might be a good idea to keep your pet on a leash when you take them outside for a bathroom break, to ensure they don’t take off running.

When walking with your pet, lead them around ice and snow puddles. Rubber booties are also a helpful way to keep your pet from slipping on sheets of ice, thanks to the additional traction they provide.

Antifreeze and Sidewalk Salt

Antifreeze is known to be fatal for animals if ingested. It has a very sweet, syrupy smell and taste that curious pets can’t help but investigate. If you spill any antifreeze while readying your car for winter, clean it up immediately. Make sure your antifreeze container is tightly sealed and stored high on a shelf or in a closet where your pet can’t get to it. You can never be too careful with antifreeze.
In addition to being painful for pets to step on, it can irritate your pet’s paw pads and stick in their fur. Licking this salt can also burn their mouth or cause minor stomach upset. Check your pet’s belly and feet for pieces of salt and wipe them away before letting your pet inside. If you have a cat or two, clean salt residue from your shoes/boots so they don’t try to lick it off.

Your Car Could be a Temporary Home for Strays

Before you start your car in the morning, be sure to knock on the hood a few times and honk the horn just in case a cat has decided to shelter next to the engine. In harsh weather, strays will find any shelter they can against the elements, and under the hood of your car is as good a place as any to them. Keep this in mind and try to give these animals a chance at survival before turning the engine.