The bitter Ontario winters are not just tough for humans to deal with but animals as well! It is important to keep our pets safe in the chilly months and these cold weather safety tips for pets can help!
1. Keep Your Pet Away from Puddles
Puddles can contain run-off from harsh melters such as salt, calcium chloride and even antifreeze. Just one teaspoon of antifreeze can be fatal if ingested by your pet! We highly recommend using eco- and pet-friendly ice melters to keep your entrances and walkways clear.
2. Watch for Ice Sticking to the Pads of Your Pets’ Feet
Trim any long hair or rubbing Vaseline/oil on their paw pads to help prevent this from happening.
3. Keep Your Dog (or Cat!) on a Leash
This is especially important if you find yourself caught in a snowstorm. The high winds and snow can cause your pet to lose their scent and become lost if off-leash.
4. Stay Away from Any Bodies of Water
Melting ice combined with rising water levels can lead to extremely dangerous conditions for your pet - and you! It is best to stay clear of boardwalks or shorelines in close proximity to water.
5. Too Cold Outside for You? Too Cold for Your Pet, Too!
Even though some breeds may be built to handle the chilly temperatures, it does not mean they are immune. A good rule of thumb is to keep your pet inside when you cannot handle the outdoor elements.
6. Beware of Frostbite
Ears and paws are the most susceptible body parts for your pets. While they may hate them, putting the booties on can help keep frostbite at bay. If frostbite does occur, head to your veterinarian immediately.
7. Is Your Pet Outside a Lot? Give Them More Food!
If your pet still loves the fresh air despite the weather, increase their meal size. Outdoor pets need additional nutrients so they can produce enough body heat to stay warm!
8. Watch for Signs of Hypothermia When Your Pet is Outdoors
Always keep an eye on your pet’s behaviour, whether they are in the backyard or otherwise. If you see your pet shaking, whining or shivering, these can be signs of hypothermia and they should go inside immediately.
9. Break Out the Clothing
When it is cold outside, we layer up and so should your pets! Short-haired animals especially need an extra layer to stay warm in the winter months. If you are planning an outing, bring a spare jacket or sweater. Damp clothing can cause them to be too cold and possibly succumb to hypothermia.
10. Check Your Engine Before Starting Your Car
In the colder months, cats and other small animals have been known to crawl under your car seeking warmth and shelter. If you start your car while they are in there, the animal can be seriously injured! Give the hood of your car a good bang or two with your hand or open the hood to check you do not have a critter hiding close to the engine.
11. Does Your Pet Have Arthritis? Cold Weather Can Aggravate It!
Keep your arthritic pets warm and dry to help combat the effects. A padded bed away from drafts can help with this, along with a warm compress on affected joints.
12. Never Leave Your Pet Alone Inside a Cold Car
Just as in the summer you should never leave your pet in a car, the same goes for the winter. Cars cool down rapidly in cold weather so please leave your pet at home instead.