Winter Safety Tips for Pets - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Winter Safety Tips for Pets

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(Toledo News Now) -

As a projected, record-breaking winter approaches, doctors from BluePearl Veterinary Partners and Michigan Veterinary Specialists recommend taking certain precautions to ensure your pet doesn't suffer from cold temperature-related injuries.

"Weather-related injuries are among the easiest to prevent," said Dr. Adam Lancaster, a board-certified specialist in critical care with BluePearl Veterinary Partners. "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. In the winter, a car holds in the cold like a refrigerator and your pet could potentially freeze to death.

- Dogs and cats get frostbite! Any dog or cat who 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. Cats and dogs are attracted to its sweet smell and taste, and will often sample some if it is left out in a container or spilled on the garage floor. If you suspect that your pet has come into contact with antifreeze, contact your veterinarian immediately. The success of treatment to antifreeze exposure depends on quick action.

- Much like humans, damp and cold weather can aggravate dogs' and cats' arthritis symptoms. 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. Never medicate your dog or cat with human prescriptions or over-the-counter medications without consulting your veterinarian first because most of them are toxic for pets and numerous pet arthritis treatments are available. Also, your dog or cat needs a cushy, comfortable bed. Several pet and feed stores carry safe, heated floor mats or non-electric warm bedding.

- 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 it 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.

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