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FYI Magazine

Safety Precautions for Pets During the Winter

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The winter can be a dangerous time of year for people and pets alike. It is important to take safety precautions to keep everyone safe when the temperature drops.
Icy, snowy conditions and plummeting temperatures present a number of hazards for animals, particularly pets that live outside or take daily walks out in the cold. Treatments that people apply to melt snow and ice can also be hazardous to animals who sniff at and walk over chemicals.
To keep pets safe when the weather is cold, remember the following as the mercury drops in the coming months.
* Although pets do have a furry coat, that doesn't mean they are impervious to the cold. If the temperature is bitterly cold, do not take pets outdoors for extended periods of time. Make walks brief. Dogs and cats can also be bundled up in pet sweaters to protect against the cold even more.
* Icy pavement that is covered with chemical de-icing products can wreak havoc on animals' paws. Limit time spent walking on cold pavement and through de-icing chemicals. Protective shoes can be put on dogs that spend considerable time outdoors. For dogs that have long fur, keep it clipped so that it limits ice ball formation.
* Animals cannot gauge the thickness of ice and may not recognize which ponds and other water sources are safe to walk on. Be cautious with animals in and around sources of water -- unless you want to take a chilly swim.
* Pets that have arthritic conditions may suffer even more when it is cold outside. Take this into consideration when going for walks or simply spending time indoors. Some pet foods feature supplements that help with joint pain. A pet owner can also talk to a veterinarian to see if a mild pain medication could ease the pet's discomfort.
* Keep in mind that blowing snow can irritate a dog's eyes.
* Animals that live outdoors should be provided with adequate shelter and a warm place to sleep. If it is particularly cold, consider moving an outside pet into a garage or heated area. TF10B082