Winter is upon us! This time of year, there are plenty of hazards to be aware of if you own a dog. Below, your Pickerington, OH veterinarian tells you how to keep your canine companion safe until the temperatures rise.
One of the most common—and dangerous—wintertime pet hazards is antifreeze, which we add to our cars’ engines to keep them running through the season. Most antifreeze products contain a chemical called ethylene glycol, which is an alcoholic substance that attracts pets with its sweet smell and taste. The product is highly toxic to animals and should be kept far out of pets’ reach at all costs—clean up spills immediately and store antifreeze where pets can’t gain access.
Of course, the most obvious danger during winter is the cold temperature. Dogs who are left outdoors for long periods of time are at risk for developing deadly frostbite and hypothermia! Keep outdoor time to a minimum, and consider dressing your dog up in a sweater, parka, or booties to protect them from the chill.
Not only can dogs slip on ice just like we can (a particular danger while your dog is navigating up or down an outdoor staircase), ice may have ice-melt chemicals or road salt applied to it. A dog can track these chemicals inside on the paws and lick them off later; you don’t want these chemicals irritating or poisoning your pooch! Do your best to avoid ice patches whenever you’re outdoors with your dog.
Try to avoid deep snowbanks whenever possible, even if your dog loves to frolic in the white stuff. Dogs can exhaust themselves trudging through deep banks of snow, even athletic breeds like retrievers.
Not all dangers during the wintertime are found outdoors. As the temperatures drop, outdoor rodents and other pests like to infiltrate our homes to seek warmth and shelter. We often use rodenticides and pesticides to combat the problem, but remember that these products can prove poisonous to dogs as well. After all, they’re designed to kill! Make sure to place pesticides in areas where pets can’t reach them, and consider asking your veterinarian about non-toxic alternatives that are safer for households with dogs.
Would you like even more tips for keeping your canine companion safe this winter? We’re here to help! Call your Pickerington, OH animal hospital today to learn more.