Put winter pet safety at the top of your to-do list this season. Winter is hazardous enough for people, but it can also be dangerous for our four-legged family members. Our animal hospital sees pets for frostbite and other winter-related issues more often than you might think! From slipping and sliding on icy sidewalks to accidentally ingesting harmful snow and ice-melting compounds, it’s time to revisit all the potential risks your pet might face this winter and the ways you can deal with them.
Know that you can always call to speak with your veterinarian or another member of our team if you have any concerns about the hazards of winter. We’re here for you!
Pets Can (and Do) Experience Frostbite
Unfortunately, our pets are not immune to the cold simply because they have fur. Frostbite is far more common in pets than you might think, especially up here in the Northeast! Think of it this way—if you wouldn’t stay outside in the cold for more than a few minutes, then your pet shouldn’t, either. Your pet will be much more comfortable (and safe) if they can stay inside with you.
To protect your pet from the elements when they do go outside, consider getting them a well-fitting jacket. Booties to protect their paws can also be a good investment, especially if your pet likes to spend their time outdoors and frequently go on walks with you.
Ice and Snow-Related Injuries
Walking or playing outside is made much more dangerous by the presence of ice. Whether your pet is walking down the street with you or bolting around the yard, one slip may be all it takes for them to get a nasty sprain, or worse. Clear away any patches of ice around your home and/or patio before letting your pet run free. On walks, steer your pet around any ice you come across.
Romping around in snowbanks can also increase your pet’s risk for an injury. Keep a close eye on them when they’re outdoors or, better yet, take them out on a leash so they can’t run wild.
While ice-melting compounds are an excellent solution to the ice problem, they can cause a few issues for pets, including:
- Burning their paw pads
- Burning their mouths if they lick the salt from their paws and/or coat
- Causing illness if ingested
Steer your pet around areas where salt has been scattered, and for extra measure, consider outfitting them in booties in their size. This will prevent any rock salt from hurting their paws or getting stuck to the tufts of fur between their toes. Additionally, you should check your pet’s feet before bringing them inside and brush away any pieces of salt that may have accumulated.
Your shoes or boots will likely have salt residue on them as well. Wipe them thoroughly before leaving them sitting by the door—if you have a cat, they might be tempted to lick the salt off the boots!