Seasonal Pet Care Tip from Community Animal Hospital

Here are some winter hazards to watch out for during the cold winter months:

Watch out for antifreeze drippings. Automotive antifreeze is a sweet but lethal taste temptation to dogs and cats. The ingestion of one or two ounces of ethylene glycol, the common ingredient in most antifreeze, can be fatal to dogs and cats. If your dog licks antifreeze, contact your veterinarian immediately. Initially, they may appear drunk, stagger or act depressed. Symptoms can rapidly progress to include vomiting, mouth ulcers and kidney failure.

Another common problem for dogs is the formation of ice balls on their feet. Dogs have sweat glands in their toes; when they leave the warmth of the indoors and go outside in the bitter cold, moisture often accumulates in between their toes. Sometimes you will notice your dog limping home from a walk, this is because walking with ice balls is like you trying to run with a rock in your shoe. Ice balls can bruise and cut the skin tissue of your dog’s foot pads. Some things to do to prevent this are to make sure that the fur between the toes is kept short. You can also apply a thin layer of aloe or petroleum jelly on your dog’s footpads before heading outside. Another option is to purchase dog booties for your pet to wear out in the snow.

Watch where you walk. Steer clear of sidewalks treated with salt, magnesium, or calcium chloride. These ice-melting chemicals can irritate your pet’s feet and cause stomach upset if ingested. To be safe, wash off your pet’s feet with a damp towel when you return home. Also, discourage your pet from licking and chewing at its’s feet. It is also recommended that you use a pet safe ice melter for your sidewalk and driveway.

Know your dog’s tolerance for cold or damp weather. Certain thick-coated breeds, like Alaskan Malamutes, are designed to withstand the cold weather better than short-haired breeds. You must let your dog adjust to colder temperatures by gradually extending their time outdoors.

We know you can’t control the climate, but you can take steps to ensure your pet will have a safe, injury and illness free winter.