By Barbara Pronin
Frigid weather is as tough on our pets as it is on us. The simple fact is that we are cold, they are cold. That’s why veterinary experts suggest limiting the time your pets spend outdoors in the cold – and most agree that a doggie sweater is no laughing matter. They also recommend these timely tips for keeping pets safe this winter:
- Give puppies some slack – Potty training can be tough on puppies, who may not want to go out in the cold and snow. A little extra attention and some forgiveness may be necessary to keep the training on track.
- Leash and collars are necessities – Make sure collars are secure and don’t let dogs off the leash. Their scent trails are compromised in the snow, and frostbite and hypothermia can set in quickly, leaving them unable to find their way back home.
- Watch out for frostbite – Frostbite most commonly occurs on a dog’s thin, exposed areas such as their ears, tail, scrotum, and paws. The skin may look blue or white but will appear red and inflamed when circulation comes back. The surface of the skin may peel and eventually turn black. Treat with warm (not hot) compresses on the affected areas and then seek medical care.
- Cars can be death traps – It’s worth remembering that a cold car can be just as deadly as a hot car for a dog. Because cars can act as a refrigerator, keeping all the coldness inside, dogs left in a vehicle with no heat can easily freeze to death
- Stay away from salt – When walking your dog, steer clear of salted sidewalks and driveways, which can irritate and even burn your pet’s paws. When you get home from a walk, be sure their paws are salt-free by wiping them off with a paper towel or a warm cloth.
- Check on neighboring pets – When neighbors are not at home, be alert to sounds of distress from their pets, especially during freezing weather. If you notice strange dogs out on their own in your neighborhood, secure their welfare by reporting their presence to the proper authorities.