It’s winter again here in Fort Collins, and the perfect time to review the most important topic of the season – cold weather pet safety.
Tips for Pet Safety in Cold Weather
1. Keep pets indoors. If it’s too cold outside for you, it’s most likely also too cold for your pets to be outdoors. The safest place is inside your home where your pets have access to fresh, room temperature water, warmth, and the comforts of a climate-controlled environment.
2. Don’t leave pets in cars! People assume that since it’s cold outside their pets will be ok inside their cars. This is a myth. Your car can act as a refrigerator when the temperature is 50°F or lower. Your pet can freeze to death. Please leave your pets at home.
3. Protect their paws. Snow, ice, salts, ice melt, and other chemicals can be painful, irritate, and even cause frostbite on your dog’s paws. Use booties or wipe their paws with a warm washcloth, and gently dry with a towel. Applying Musher’s Secret Wax to help protect their paws after they’ve been wiped off and dried is another little helpful tip.
4. Protect them from Antifreeze. Antifreeze has a sweet taste and is HIGHLY TOXIC and can be fatal for animals and humans, alike. If your pet licks their paws after stepping in a puddle and ingests antifreeze, get them to the nearest veterinarian for immediate care.
5. Protect pets from hypothermia. Keep sweaters, coats, and booties on your pets. Steer clear of frozen ponds, lakes, etc. to avoid falling through the ice. Stay on marked trails and paths. Hypothermia is one of the most common issues caused by freezing temperatures and is mostly found on the extremities (paws, noses, and ears). The combination of wet fur and cold weather/wind chill can be dangerous for dogs and cats and contribute to hypothermia. Body temperatures below 99°F are very concerning and typically coincide with the following symptoms: pale skin, shivering, and listlessness to the point of lethargy. Gone untreated, hypothermia can lead to a coma, heart failure, and other organ failure. See veterinary attention if your pet is suffering from any of the above symptoms.
6. Know your pet’s limits and normal temperature. Dogs and cats with short/thinner coats will get colder more quickly than those dogs and cats with longer/thicker coats. Keep up with grooming and never shave your dog’s or cat’s coat to the skin. Also, normal temperatures for dogs should be between 101°F and 102.5°F, and cats range from 100°F to 102.5°F.
7. Check around and under your car before starting it. Animals may be underneath your car, or even near your engine, where it can be a warm place to sleep. Make a lot of noise and check your vehicle thoroughly before turning it on to avoid injuring any animals.
I hope these tips will help those that are unaware of the dangers our pets can face during the wintertime, especially here in Northern Colorado.
Happy New Year!