A Place for Pets & Animal Lovers
Cold Weather Tips
Extreme caution must be used when flushing car radiators. Because of the sweet taste of antifreeze, cats and dogs enjoy licking it. However, antifreeze is poisonous to them. A lethal dose for dogs is one-half of a teaspoon per pound of body weight, and for cats it is one-quarter of a teaspoon per pound of body weight.
Antifreeze poisoning is a difficult ailment to diagnose and treat. The
initial symptoms usually go unnoticed because they are very subtle. Among the
initial symptoms are depression, vomiting, and increased drinking and urination. These symptoms can subside, making it appear that the animal has recovered.
Antifreeze poisoning usually is noticed at its last and most critical stage. However, the animal's kidneys have been destroyed by this time.
It is very important for pet owners to closely watch their animals when they are outdoors, especially during the fall when winterizing cars is customary. Pets must immediately be taken to a veterinarian if antifreeze poisoning is suspected.
It is not a good idea to require dogs, or other animals kept as pets, to live outside. They need consistent, loving interaction with people. Without it, they become susceptible to a number of stress-related illnesses. If a dog must live outside, it is crucial that a well-insulated, draft-free, and waterproof shelter be provided for him. A secure enclosure surrounding the shelter also is absolutely essential.
Measures must be taken to ensure that the water a dog living outdoors drinks does not freeze during the winter.
It is not a good idea to chain a dog while he is outside and unattended. This is because behavioral problems will arise.
If a dog shivers and shakes during walks on cold days, he may need a sweater. Some short-coated dogs, regardless of size, are very sensitive to cold. This especially is true of older dogs.
An owner of a long-coated dog may want to have his dog wear a sweater during romps in the snow. This will help prevent snow from accumulating on the dog's fur.
Be sure to thoroughly dry a dog after he has been out for a walk on a cold, rainy day. This, along with the proper vaccinations, will help prevent upper respiratory infections.
Snow covers scent tracks and similar landmarks that help a dog return to his owner. A leash attached to a collar that has an identification tag and a license on it, or a secure fence, will ensure that the owner and the dog return home together.
Snow can cause a terrible stomach ache. Throwing a ball or stick, or walking to another location, will distract a dog when his mind is on eating snow.
Leaving Animals in Cars
It is not safe to leave an animal in a car during the winter. Long-term exposure to low temperatures can lead to hypothermia. Small, short-coated animals especially are susceptible to it.
It is much better to leave a pet at home than to leave him in a car. An
unattended pet can suffer from the elements and be lost or stolen.
Rock Salt and De-Icers
Rock salt and de-icers not only are hazardous when ingested by an animal, but also very irritating to an animal's feet. It therefore is a good idea to apply a thick layer of petroleum jelly to the bottom of one's pet's feet, making sure to pay special attention to the webbing between his toes while doing so. This will not provide complete protection, but it will help prevent discomfort.
Many long-coated dogs have excess hair between their toes. This hair can
become impacted with snow during a walk, and thus walking can become
uncomfortable. To prevent this, have a professional groomer clip the dog's nails and shave the hair between his toes.
Animals never should be given bones on which to chew. Poultry and steak bones can splinter and cause perforations of the stomach and/or intestines. It also is very important to prevent animals from helping themselves to trash containing bones and other potentially dangerous items.
Feel free to give a pet a Thanksgiving treat, but remember that too much of a good thing can cause diarrhea and other intestinal upsets.
Beware of the poisonous plants that traditionally are available during the
holiday season. Poinsettias and mistletoe in particular are very dangerous.
Christmas decorations also can be hazardous. String, ribbon, and tinsel can get caught in an animal's intestines, small decorations can be swallowed, and breakable ornaments can cause injuries.
Always be sure to keep electrical cords out of the reach of animals.
Animals are not appropriate gifts. They are a big responsibility.
Most people can't devote the time and attention a new pet requires during the holiday season. So, it is a good idea to offer a gift certificate, supplies, and toys instead of an animal. That way, a new pet can be brought into the home at a more suitable time.
Some pet toys are safer than others. Examine a toy before purchasing it. Make sure the toy can't easily fall apart. Also make sure that it doesn't have small pieces that can be swallowed. For example, make sure the squeaker inside a squeaking toy can't be reached.