Cold Weather/ Holiday Tips
Winter can be hard on your cat and dog.
Here are some ways to keep your pet safe during those cold months and
during the holiday season:
Keep all antifreeze away from pets. It has a sweet taste, is very
palatable and does not take very much to kill your pet. Clean up any spills as
soon as possible. If you think your pet has ingested any, seek medical
attention immediately. It is important to start treatment within the first
few hours to try to reduce the damage to the kidneys. Untreated animals
usually die from kidney failure.
The salt used to melt ice and snow can cause irritation to pet
footpads/skin and to their gastrointestinal tract if ingested. You can
protect your pet by putting baby oil, cooking spray or dog booties on their
feet. Make sure to thoroughly wash off the feet and body if your pet does
come into contact with the rock salt.
Consider a jacket for short-coated dogs when outside.
Dog houses should not be too big, because heat is not conserved in a house
too large for the dog. The dog should be able to get up and turn around
comfortably, with the ceiling just high enough to clear the dog's head. The
dog house should have airtight walls, and it's best if the door faces south or
west. Instead of using blankets that hold moisture and mat down, use clean
straw or hay. It's also good to have a flap over the door to keep out wind
Allow your dog or cat to acclimate to the weather if it hasn't been out
much. Bring in pets if possible in subfreezing conditions and harsh winds.
Check on your pet at least once or twice a day.
Always make sure your pet has fresh, clean water. For your outdoors
canine, check the water regularly to make sure it's not frozen.
A pet needs more food if he or she stays outside in the winter, because
they need more calorie intake to produce extra body heat. On the other
hand, indoor dogs should generally be fed less during the winter.
Don't give your pet holiday food -- alcoholic beverages, candy,
chocolate, turkey and dressing, pork, fish, bones -- as all can cause vomiting,
diarrhea or pancreatitis. Chocolate can be a poison. Clinical signs of chocolate
poisoning include hyperexcitability, nervousness, vomiting and diarrhea and
can result in death. Dark chocolate and baking chocolate are the most
Have a "safe" place for your pet when company is over for the holidays.
Some animals get very nervous or distressed with a house full of guests.
Holiday paraphernalia -- pine needles, ornaments, yarn, tinsel, ribbons, etc. --
can be harmful to pets if ingested. Keep them out of a pet's reach.
Cats and kittens like the warmth of car engines. Slap the hood of your car
and honk your horn before starting your car in the morning if you own a cat
or there are any cats in the neighborhood.
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