Cold Weather and Pets

Winter can be a wonderful season; a time for snowmen, skiing, snow shoeing, family gatherings and hot chocolate (for people, not your pet!). While we are enjoying this wonderful time; there are some things to be watchful for in regards to our pets.

ColdWeatherPets1Temperature: Even though pets have fur, they feel the cold just like we do. Many pets enjoy outdoor activities with their families. But, if it is too cold for you, it is too cold for them! Just like you bundle up, have a coat and foot coverings for your pet if the outdoor fun is going to be extended. People always want to know “how cold is too cold?” The short answer is, it depends on the individual! Before you bring your pet with you on an outdoor adventure ask yourself these questions – is my pet acclimated? Do I have the proper gear for my pet? If they get in trouble (e.g. feet are getting too cold or painful) do I have a plan to protect them/get them to a safe/warm place? Do I have fresh water for them to drink?

Road and sidewalk salt/chemicals: You can’t make it through winter in Saint Cloud, MN without running into some type of ice melt product! When you walk your dog be sure to keep your pet away from heavy deposits, wipe their feet off before they lick it off and call us if you think your pet has ingested a large amount.

Outdoor/stray cats: Who doesn’t like getting into a warm car? That is what your car is when you get home, warm! Outdoor cats seek the warmth under the hood and may even climb up under the hood for shelter. To help keep these kitties safe, bang on the hood before starting your car to scare them away.

ColdWeatherPets3 Antifreeze: This is a concern for dogs, cats and wildlife. The newer/safer brands are better but still can be toxic. Be sure to clean up spills completely and right away to protect all pets and wildlife. Remember, you may not see symptoms right away but if you know or suspect your pet has ingested antifreeze call and get them in immediately. Bring the product with you so that we can contact the Pet Poison Helpline with the exact information. It saves time, money and lives! Pet Poison Helpline
Inside the home: During the winter season many people light candles, use potpourri or use other scented products. Lit candles and potpourri can be a curiosity to our pets – Use with caution and ONLY if you are present. Birds can be severely injured and whiskers can get burned on cats and dogs. Worse yet, if the product gets knocked over a fire can start in the home. Scented plug ins and oils can be dangerous for our feathered friends (remember the canary in the coal mine?) – It is best not to use any of these products if you have pet birds.

Be safe this winter by being smart and planning ahead!

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