In many areas, winter is a season of bitter cold and numbing wetness. Doctors from BluePearl Veterinary Partners recommend taking extra precautions during winter months to ensure your pet doesn't suffer from cold-temperature related injuries.
"Weather related injuries are among the easiest to prevent," said Dr. Jennifer Pittman, a board-certified critical care specialist with Georgia Veterinary Specialists, a BluePearl Veterinary Partners hospital, in a newsrelease. "By following these tips, people can help ensure their furry friends will remain a little safer this winter."
Similar to when it is hot outside, never leave your pet alone in a car during cold weather either. In the winter, a car holds in the cold like a refrigerator and your pet could potentially freeze to death.
Any dog or cat that is exposed to very cold temperatures for more than brief periods of time can develop frostbite. If pets begin to shiver or their ears, tail, and feet show signs of frostbite such as redness in the early stages and pale, white or patches in more advanced cases of frostbite, bring them inside immediately.
Antifreeze is highly toxic to people and animals. Pets can be attracted to its smell and taste, and will often sample some if left out in a container or spilled on the garage floor. Contact your veterinarian immediately if you suspect that your pet has come in contact with antifreeze.
Damp and cold weather can aggravate symptoms associated with arthritis in dogs and cats, much like humans. If your pet is having trouble getting up or laying down, walking the stairs, or has started to cry when being picked up, a visit to the veterinarian is in order.
Pets need to have fresh water at all times. If you leave water outside for your pets, be sure it does not freeze.
Outdoors on cold days, animals may seek shelter near something warm like a car engine. If an animal is near the engine when the car is started, serious injury can occur.
Starting a car to warm up in a garage will trap carbon monoxide. It can only take a few minutes for a small pet to die in a sealed garage with a car running.
"A simple rule to remember is if it is too cold for you, it's probably too cold for your pet," said Pittman.
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