Winter Pet Safety Tips

Winter Pet Safety Tips

With the winter season well under way, we’re expecting snowfall any minute. Despite the beautiful Wisconsin scenery, snow angels and men, there are many risks that come along with increasingly cold temperatures. To ensure your pet’s safety, please consider taking precautionary measures to keep your pet at optimal health and prepare yourself for “health emergencies” that may present themselves this season. Here are some risks to consider:

Hypothermia
Hypothermia is defined by dangerously low body temperature that occurs when our body begins to lose heat faster than our body produces heat. Hypothermia affects the internal body of animals and can occur if your dog spends too much time outside or gets wet during very cold conditions. The symptoms to be aware of include shivering, cold ears, paws and tail, lethargy and weakness. With time, the symptoms can potentially worsen and lead to stiff muscles, slowed breathing, decreased heart rate, and a change in response to stimuli (i.e. not responding to verbal cues such as “sit” or “come”.)

Frostbite
Frostbite occurs as an injury caused by freezing of the skin and underlying body tissues. Frostbite is a medical emergency that affects the external body of an animal and is literally defined as “freezing” of the outermost layers of our physical body. Symptoms to look out for in your dog include a discoloration of skin (i.e. pale or grey paws), an appearance of ice crystals on the area, skin that feels cold or frozen to touch, blisters, skin ulcers and areas of blackened or dead skin.

What to do in case of emergency:

Take your dog to a warm and dry area immediately
Wrap your dog in warm towels or blankets (i.e. wool)
In case of hypothermia, use warm water to increase body temperature. Thoroughly dry your dog promptly after.
In case of frostbite, Please DO NOT use hot water, heating pads, hair dryers or space heaters because there is risk that these forms or direct heat may cause burns on numb skin.
If you observe life-threatening symptoms of hypothermia or frostbite in your dog:

Keep your dog wrapped in warm towels/blankets indoors while your heat your car
Take your dog to a local 24-hour emergency pet care clinic
Remember the five P’s: PROPER PLANNING PREVENTS POOR PERFORMANCE~ set aside some time to find 24-hour emergency pet care clinics in your area and keep this information in an accessible place. In times of emergency, we often become frantic and it is better to be prepared than panicking.

PREVENTION TIPS AND TRICKS:

Pay extra close attention to your dog’s behavior this winter. If your dog is acting out of the ordinary, take a closer look at what might be going on.
Visit your local pet supply store to check out dog coats/jackets as well as dog boots that are lined with rubber to provide safety from ice, snow and toxic melting salt.
Do not leave your dog unattended in the car or in the yard, and be mindful to not allow your dog to ingest antifreeze as it is VERY toxic to their health.
Take your dog outside to play during times of increased sunlight.
Once your dog comes into the house after playtime, use a warm towel to dry wetness and increase body heat.
Use safe grooming products to bathe your pets and apply moisturizer to dry and flaky paws. We recommend Life’s Abundance dog products because they are safe, natural and formulated by veterinary experts. You can learn more about this brand here or by visiting us in-person at Healing Hands Therapy Center.
Feed your dog a raw meat based diet and add essential vitamins and nutrients to keep them extra healthy and heighten their performance. For more information on nutrition and diet, please click here.
Wishing you and your family a happy and safe winter season.