10 Winter Weather
Pet Safety Tips

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Winter weather has just begun here in New York City (1-3 inches of powder coming our way) and that’s the perfect time to review cold weather safety tips for our furry wiggle butts.

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Here are some important tips to follow:

  1. Schedule a wellness exam. Some dogs, like seniors, may experience more medical problems than usual in cold weather, such as arthritis, heart conditions or diabetes. Now is the perfect time to schedule an appointment with your vet to make sure your dog’s medical conditions are stable.

  2. Double check ID tags and microchips. Unfortunately, many dogs get loose during colder months, so it’s important to make sure your pet’s ID tags and microchip information are all up to date.

  3. Keep your dog indoors. Unless your dog is relieving him/herself or exercising, it’s important to keep your four-legged family member indoors as much as possible.

  4. Don’t leave your dog in a car. This should be a given but important to reiterate. Petfinder.com says a car “can act as a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold.”

  5. Check water bowls. Your pooch may need more hydration when it’s cold outside, so make sure you keep the water bowls full.

  6. Don’t shave your dog and consider a sweater. Fur actually keeps dogs insulated from the low temperatures so it’s actually best to let their fur grow. Provide sweaters or coats to short-haired dogs. Think sweaters are silly? Think again: Pedigree says that some dogs really need coats and Dr. Marty Becker says small dogs, seniors or ill dogs, and thin breeds like Greyhounds that have short-hair definitely need sweaters.

  7. Beware of salt and ice melters! This is especially important in urban areas. Here, in New York City, all of the sidewalks are lined with piles of salt and ice melters before and during snowstorms. They’re great for humans but super dangerous for animals. In addition to irritating your dog’s skin, they can also mess with their gastrointestinal tract, and cause weakness, disorientation, low blood pressure, seizures, heart problems, or death. Do your best to walk your dog around the salt and ice melters or take the necessary precautions… more on that in a moment!

  8. Avoid antifreeze. Harsh chemicals like antifreeze and windshield washer products are highly toxic to animals and can cause life-threatening kidney damage. It only takes a few tablespoons of the chemicals to be dangerous, so keeping antifreeze bottles sealed and away from pets is important. If your dog is exposed to antifreeze, call animal poison hotline immediately. The ASPCA has an Animal Poison Control Hotline available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year: 888-426-4435. (Note: A $65 consultation fee may be applied to your credit card).

  9. Give a rub down. After spending time outside, be sure to wipe off your dog’s paws and stomach to clean any salt, antifreeze or other chemicals that your dog may have picked up outdoors.

  10. Prepare for severe weather. Bad storms can sometimes cause power outages. Make sure you have a pet emergency kit on hand, including enough dog food, water, and medication to last up to a week or more.

This post was originally published by Furry Wiggle Butts here.