Pet Care In The Winter

As we prepare for the joys.of the holiday season, we must remember to protect our pets from the rigors of winter weather. The veterinarians at Animal Humane offer the following tips to safeguard your pet’s health and happiness during the cold winter months:

• Keep young, elderly and small pets indoors. Small animals cannot tolerate the cold as well as larger pets with greater body mass. Just like humans, the very young and the very old are weaker, feebler and always, at greater risk to succumbing to pneumonia or even freezing to death.

• Be aware of the many ways that automobifes can be deadly to pets in the winter. Cats frequently seek out the warmth of automobile engines for example and can be injured or killed by the fan when a motor is started. As a precaution, develop the habit of banging on the hood of you’r car before engaging the engine.

• Never leave your pet unattended in a car. Not only is it illegal, but animals can freeze to death quickly in the small, cold space.

•  Make sure your radiator is not leaking antifreeze, which smells and tastes sweet but is deadly to animals. Have your vehicle professionally serviced on a regular basis. Also, consider switching to pet-friendly propylene glycol products rather than those containing ethyleneglycol.

• Provide your pet sufficient food. Animals have greater caloric and nutritional requirements during cold weather, especially if they spend time outdoors.

• Fill your pet’s bowl with plenty of fresh water, which is even more impprtant than food to an outdoor pet in winter. And make certain the water source is not frozen.

• Don’t permit holiday guests to offer your pets food, bones or alcohol. At the very least, this can cause severe gastric upset. At worst, brittle cooked bones can rupture the intestinal tract, spicy foods can produce hemorrhagic gastroenteritis; and alcohol can induce intoxication, coma or death.

•  Keep poinsettias, holly, mistletoe, Star of Bethlehem and holiday bouquets safely out of Fido’s and Miss Kitty’s reach. If your pet ingests a potentially harmful substance, call the American Society for the Prevention of Animal Cruelty Animal Poison Control Center at 888.426-4435 and seek veterinary care immediately.

• Keep your pet warm and dry. An animal’s coat is natural insulation. Resist the temptation to thin it or shave it. Invest in a warm coat or sweater for outdoor activity if your pet is small or has short hair.

• Provide a dry, insulated shelter where your pet can escape drafts and the elements, preferably off the ground.

•  Have your pets microchipped and tagged with your address and phone number. If they do become lost, they can be quickly and safely returned to you.