Winter Weather Advisory for Pets: From the American Veterinary Medical Association

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Jack Frost is definitely hanging around this winter with more biting winds and drifting snow.  This non-stop cold is not only a nuisance and danger to us, but also to our furry friends.  So, what to do to keep our pets safe and warm? The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has provided some tips to keep pets healthy when the cold just keeps on coming.

Limit your time outside

It’s best to keep your pet indoors if you can when the thermometer gets very low.  If you’re out and about with your pet in freezing or below freezing weather, avoid leaving them outside for long periods of time.  Many people believe that pets’ fur will prevent the animal from freezing but that’s not the case. Animals can get frostbite and hypothermia just like humans. If you’re making the trek outside, an animal sweater or coat will help, as will booties, just make sure the sweater or coat is dry.

Watch out for poisonous materials

Sidewalks are full of chemicals during the snowy season, from antifreeze to salt. Wipe down your pet after you come in from a walk. Dangerous chemicals can get stuck on paws, legs and bellies. If you don’t wash it off, the pets can ingest them, which can be toxic.  Also, don’t leave chemicals like antifreeze lying around. If you spill, clean it up immediately.

Pay attention to the signs

If your pet starts to whine, limp, slow down, etc., they might be trying to tell you to bring them indoors. Pay close attention to your pet when you’re out in the cold to help determine when they’ve had enough.  If your pet shows signs of hypothermia, like shivering, immediately seek help from a vet. Frostbite is harder to detect, but also just as serious, so keep a close watch.

Cars can also be dangerous

Outdoor pets tend to find shelter under cars, and that car could be yours. So, before you put your car in reverse or drive, check under it for any animals. Also, a cold car can be just as dangerous as outside for your furry buddy, so  don’t leave your pet locked in for any stretch of time.

Prepare for storms/power outages

Blizzards and ice storms can cause power outages, so always have extra food, water and medicine on hand for your pet in case of an emergency. The AVMA suggests you have of these items to last you through at least five days. Stock up before and after each storm.

With cold weather continuing to batter north and south, it pays to be prepared.

For more information about cold weather safety for your pets, visit AVMA.org.

 

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