Monday, February 22, 2010

Is it spring yet?

I know that we are all sick of the cold and snow but while winter continues to drag on there are some important cold weather warnings to remember to keep your pets safe. You can also listen to an interview I did about these topics with WAMU.

Orthopedic Injury: Dogs love running through the deep snow and don’t give much thought to racing across an icy patch of terrain. Owners must be careful when letting pups run free as they can easily pull a muscle or slip and fall. Another danger occurs when ice and snow accumulate between furry toes which cause cuts or irritation.

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.

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.

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.

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 lickthe chemicals off once you get home. If you will be salting your own property consider using Safe Paws Ice Melter to keep paws safe.

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.

Preventatives: You may have stopped your heartworm and flea/tick prevention for winter but now is the time to start back up again. With spring just around the corner (or so we hope) all those mosquitoes, fleas and ticks are just waiting to emerge and attack our pets. Don't forget that cats, even those that live indoors, need preventatives too!

1 comment:

  1. Nice job Dr. always, you bring up very timely topics that help pet owners understand how to better care for their pets!