Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Winter dangers

This Wednesday Fox 5’s Holly Morris will be spending the morning at Friendship starting bright and early at 6 am. Among the many awesome things we will be showing Holly around the hospital, I will be giving some tips on keeping your pets healthy and safe this winter. Here are my top 5 cold weather dangers for dogs and cats:

1) Warm car engines: many people let their cats outside which is not a good idea on many levels but once it gets cold kitties really put themselves at risk for death by seeking shelter in a parked car. In an effort to warm up during a cold night cats will crawl up under the hood of a car and curl up on the warm engine block. This does not end well when you come out the next morning and fire up your car to head off for work. Luckily this is easy to avoid by keeping your kitties inside during the chilly months.

2) Antifreeze: this common chemical has a sweet taste so dogs and cats are actually attracted to it. If you are unaware your pet was exposed, by the time clinical signs become apparent it is often too late for treatment. The other nasty thing about antifreeze is that a tiny amount is all it takes to cause irreversible damage resulting in death. Avoid this by monitoring your pets at all times and keeping cats indoors.

3) Salting for snow and ice: many of the chemicals used to keep sidewalks and roads safe can be toxic to dogs and cats. This is can be avoided by cleaning paws after a walk so they don’t lick the chemicals off once you get home. If you will be salting your own property consider using Safe Paw Ice Melter to keep paws safe.

4) Rodenticide: another common toxicity to be aware of for both dogs and cats. The cold weather drives rats and mice into our homes and without question this is undesirable. In an effort to get rid of these unwanted visitors many people will put out poison. Keep this in mind, rodenticides don’t just kill rodents, they will kill any mammal that ingests it. Most rat poison is formulated to be tasty, attracting both rodents and our pets. If you must put a rodenticide in your house or on your property make sure your animals can’t get to it, remembering that the crafty rodent often will move the poison. Also warfarin based products are best since these are at least treatable if caught in time.

5) Freezing temperatures: I think this shouldn’t need to be said but keep your pets inside when it gets cold. If the thermostat dips below 40 degrees Fahrenheit bring outside dogs in and don’t let the kitty out for the night. Animals are susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia just like us so please protect them.

Hopefully these pointers will be helpful during the upcoming winter months. Please tune in to Fox 5 tomorrow morning to check out all the exciting things happening at Friendship.

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