Yes, we all know how the song goes. And we all need to remember that “inside is so delightful” for our pets this time of year as well. If you are cold, they are cold, especially small pups, young pups, old pups and pups with thin coats. And cats, too, of course. Just because they have fur doesn’t mean they aren’t susceptible to the cold. And don’t forget about their paws; time outside should be limited to protect their extremities. Domestic animals are at risk for hypothermia, dehydration and frostbite just like us. Ask your vet or check online (pets.webmd.com is a reliable resource) if you aren’t sure about the precautions needed for your pet. Also, when they return from a walk, take a minute to wipe off the rock salt or ice melt from their paws as they will dry out their paw pads, causing painful cracking – plus, it will be ingested if they lick their paws. I used to put Vitamin E on Chance’s paws to keep them soft and safe. And last but not least, please be aware of antifreeze as it is toxic to dogs and cats. Apparently, it has a sweet taste that attracts our furry friends. If you suspect that your pet has licked even a small amount of antifreeze you should go to your vet immediately…early treatment can save your pet’s life.
It hurts my heart to know that there are pets left outside in the elements all year long and I pray that those pet parents will at least provide them with a safe, warm shelter. I read a story last winter about a well-meaning person who rescued a dog and her puppies without clearing it with the landlord. Needless to say, the landlord said no, so he put them outside in a makeshift shelter until a new home could be found for these sweet dogs. Unfortunately, he used a space heater to keep them warm and it set the small shelter on fire. The mommy got severely burned trying to save her puppies, but she was unsuccessful. Luckily, she was saved by a local rescue, her injuries were treated and she is now safe in her furever home. There are many more circumstances like these that have tragic endings. And let’s not forget that outdoor kitties often take shelter from the cold near a warm car engine. Take a moment to bang your fist on the hood of your car before turning over the engine to give them a chance to get out and avoid injury.
So, with a little thoughtfulness and care, we can all get through this winter season safely.