'Tis the season...for pet safety, that is. Winter can be harsh, with its extreme weather, freezing temperatures and dangerous ice. To help you make it through one of the toughest seasons of the year, the National Association Of Professional Pet Sitters created an infographic. Here's what you need to know:
- Stock up on supplies - In case of emergency, including weather-related ones, make sure you have enough dog food and bottled water, as well as any medication for your dog.
- Keep your dogs close - Keep your dog on a leash when outside and make sure their ID tags are up-to-date with your contact information (and even your vet's).
- Stay updated on the weather - Make sure you know or can access local weather and news. Winter is unpredictable so it's important to stay in the know, especially before going on winter walks.
- Give them a space of their own - Create a cozy nook or space indoors, away from any cold drafts or air.
Keep Them Warm
- Keep fur longer - Try not to shave your dog during the winter months as longer coats will provide an extra layer of warmth.
- Pet pedicures - Clip the fur between your dog's toe pads and trim their nails to prevent snow and ice from clumping there. Also rinse their paws with warm water and wipe them dry each time your dog returns from outside.
- Sweater weather - Some dogs are winter breeds, equipped with a natural winter coat. But others don't have this luxury and these dogs should use a jacket, sweater or other protective winter clothing items before going outside.
- Check under cars - Cats and other small animals like the warmth of a car so make noise or bang on the hood before starting your vehicle.
- Don't leave your pet in the car - Just like in summer, never leave your pet alone in a vehicle. During winter, a car can act as a refrigerator and trap the cold, causing hypothermia.
Protect Against Hazards
- Plant poisons - Many common holiday plants (like holly, mistletoe, and poinsettias) can cause irritation, vomiting, diarrhea, and heart arrhythmia. Call your vet immediately if you think your pet ingested a toxic plant.
- Decoration hazards - Keep small decorations, such as tinsel, out of your pet's reach as they can be a choking hazard or cause intestinal obstruction.
- Be aware of chemicals - Keep all winter products and cleaning solutions (like antifreeze and ice-melting substances) out of your pet’s reach. These items contain chemicals that can be dangerous to them, causing irritation and burns. Clean up product spills as soon as possible.
- Keep holiday foods away - Many holiday foods contain ingredients that are toxic to your pet like macadamia nuts, walnuts, garlic, and onions. Again, call your vet immediately if you think they ingested something toxic.