Winter is here and pet safety is a top priority. The recent snowstorms, from the polar vortex on the East coast to the self-described “snowpocalypse” on the West Coast, excess snow and icy conditions create snowstorms winter pet hazards that every pet owner should be aware of. During these cooler months, winter-specific illnesses and conditions are more likely to occur, which not only can affect our pet’s health but their general well-being. We sat down with Trupanion’s on-site veterinarian, Dr. Sarah Nold to discuss four winter pet hazards to avoid this season and when to seek care for our furry friends.
Four winter pet hazards every pet owner should be aware of
As winter temperatures begin to fall, hypothermia can set in rather quickly. If you feel your pet is experiencing signs of Hypothermia, here is what you should look for –
Signs of Hypothermia can include:
- Excessive shivering
- Low body temperature
- Slow movements
is especially a problem in cats and small dogs. If you suspect your pet has
Hypothermia, move them to a warm environment and bundle them in warm blankets.
In addition, take them to the closest veterinary clinic as soon as possible,”
states on-site Trupanion veterinarian, Dr. Sarah Nold.
While walking your dog in snowy conditions is an interactive and enriching activity for you and your furry friend, winter walks require some extra diligence as you are exposing your pet to an over-looked winter pet hazard. The dangers of salt can occur when your pet goes to lick their paws during or after a walk. “If a large amount is ingested, especially if access to fresh water is limited, it could result in an electrolyte imbalance,” points out Nold. Be mindful to keep your pet from licking and wipe their paws and wet fur thoroughly when you are back indoors.
Signs of an electrolyte imbalance due to salt ingestion can include:
- Excessive drinking or urinating
If at any point you feel your pet is showing signs of electrolyte imbalance due to salt ingestion, seek veterinary care immediately.
Frostbite is a winter pet hazard that should never go unnoticed. As you head out to play in the snow, be aware of how long your pet is out playing. Consider weather appropriate attire for your furry friends if out in the snow for an extended period of time, for instance, boots, socks, and weatherproof jacket. “Frostbite is most commonly seen in the ear tips of cats/kittens. It’s best to avoid, as treatment by your veterinarian may involve surgery to remove the dead tissue, as well as pain medication and treatment for secondary infections,” says Nold.
Just as the flu is common during the winter months with humans, the canine influenza virus can run rampant around dog parks and dog boarding facilities during flu season.
Common signs of the dog flu can include:
- Decreased Appetite
- Discharge from eyes and nose
In addition, the dog flu can be highly contagious and you should seek veterinary care if you feel your pet has been affected. “Also, ask your veterinarian whether a vaccine is recommended for your dog,” points out Nold.
Four winter pet hazards: protect our pets this winter season
We want our pets to enjoy everything the winter season has to offer. Frequently, when outside interacting with our pets, take note of any abnormal signs or behavior your pet might be experiencing. In addition, while the storms continue to blanket the regions with snow, consider more indoor interactive play as a way to have a fun bonding experience.