Here are some tips to keep your pet safe during the winter season.
Don't overdo the great outdoors: If you can, keep your dog or cat indoors during the winter. Even animals with a full, thick coat can be at risk of exposure once temperatures fall below freezing. If you can't allow the pet into the house temporarily, set up a space in the garage or an enclosed porch where he can still be protected against the elements — especially the wind, which can quickly lead to frostbite on a cold evening or early morning.
Bundle up: Get your pet a coat and some shoes. Kitty might object to this a bit more strongly, so the solution is to keep him indoors. For a dog, especially a short-haired one, a sweater or a waterproof jacket can make all the difference. Ears and footpads are especially vulnerable to frostbite, so make sure they're protected.
Wipe them off: Their paws, that is. If doggie or kitty isn't wearing winter shoes, they might be stepping on salt or ice melt, which can irritate the skin. Ice and snow can stick to the hair, or in between the toes, and cause pain, burning and even bleeding. Drying them off well with a towel after a romp outside is a must.
Keep danger away: Probably the most important winter pet safety tip you'll hear is "store your antifreeze away." Antifreeze smells and tastes sweet, so it can be tempting to pets. Since it's also deadly, make sure you always keep it away from your pets.
Make the holidays safe: The winter season is the time for Christmas trees, garland, candles and lights — all of which can spell disaster if your dog or cat ends up chewing on the decorations or swallowing tiny pieces of shattered bulbs. When you're leaving the house, put your pet in a different room, and make sure you practice "Leave the holiday stuff alone!" when you're home.
One more word of caution: Poinsettia and mistletoe can be poisonous to pets, so keep them out of reach, or out of the house altogether.
Remember, winter pet safety is all about paying attention to your environment and making sure your furry one doesn't get into trouble.
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