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Potential Hazards to Your Pet in the Winter
Even though you may be taking extra precautions to protect your pets from freezing temperatures, there are other unexpected hazards when winter comes around. Here are a few potential problems for large, small, and exotic animals this time of year.
Your beloved pet may love to roam outside during warmer weather; however, it’s not advised on extremely cold days. Owners should stay vigilant, keeping animals inside during harsh weather, especially when the temperature drops below zero. If your pets need to exercise outdoors, make sure to stay outside with them, and take periodic breaks returning them to a heated room in order to avoid frostbite and dehydration.
Animals with short hair are more affected by the cold, so warm jackets and sweaters will help. If your pet lives outside permanently, make sure it is protected by an insulated, wooden shelter built a few inches above the ground. It should be large enough to accommodate its size, but small enough to retain body heat.
FOOD AND WATER
Pets that spend time outdoors in the winter need to be fed more, due to the extra calories their bodies must burn to retain body heat. More nutrition is required to replace the depleted energy.
Winter can also be very dry, so check the water bowl frequently, and make sure that the water hasn't frozen. We advise using plastic bowls for food and water to avoid any frozen metal sticking to your animal's tongue. Similar to humans, your pet’s immune system can be more susceptible to illness in the winter. Certain brands offer food with antioxidant supplements to help them stay healthy.
LOOK OUT FOR HYPOTHERMIA
If your pet has suffered prolonged exposure to harsh weather, watching out for signs of hypothermia is imperative. Symptoms include decreased heart rate, dilated pupils, extreme shivering, weak pulse, body temperature below 95 degrees, and pale or blue mucous membranes. Hypothermia can cause neurological problems, heart problems, and even kidney failure. Upon discovery, you can provide first aid by wrapping a blanket around your pet as well as placing a hot water bottle (around 100 degrees Fahrenheit) against the stomach. Then you should rush to the animal hospital. Make sure to place some sort of material around the water bottle to prevent burns.
BEWARE OF CAR ENGINE AND HARMFUL CHEMICALS
Be careful of areas outside that give off hot air and heat, such as your parked car’s engine. This dangerous hiding spot is perfect for smaller creatures looking to stay warm. It is advisable to always bang on the roof and peak under the car before you start it.
Harmful deicing agents are extremely dangerous to animals. Clean your cats or dogs off after being outside; the salt and other de-frosting chemicals can make them sick. To be safe, we suggest buying nontoxic antifreeze made with propylene glycol!
Digicare has been dedicated to providing veterinarians with the best technology for over 20 years. We proudly manufacture our products in the U.S.
Our team develops technology that veterinarians can trust and is easy to use. Each Digicare product comes with a warranty plus lifetime support. Additionally, our exceptional customer support team is available to assist with setup and troubleshooting. At Digicare, we believe in going above and beyond for our customers by providing the products veterinarians need to deliver the best care for their patients.
To learn more about Digicare Animal Health, please give us a call at 561 689 0408.