When it comes to spending quality time with your pet, the winter months are ideal. Extra cuddles on the couch should never be underrated, and who is better to do that with than your pet? There are, however, a few winter hazards that you need to consider to help keep your pet healthy and safe.
In some areas of the world, it gets so cold overnight that your pet's water bowl may freeze over. If it remains cold during the day, the ice may not get a chance to melt, and your pet will not have any access to water. It's crucial to ensure that your pet has access to multiple water sources and that you check your pet's water twice daily.
Keep me warm!
In the colder months, pets that live outside should be able to come inside when they want to. You may need to bring your pet inside if the temperature drops significantly. Older pets should be kept indoors whenever possible and monitored closely for signs of illness.
Some geriatric pets will 'forget' to come inside if they are feeling cold or have sore joints, so take extra care of them during this period. If your pet cannot sleep in the house, a garage can provide some shelter but remember that carbon monoxide poisoning can occur in a garage with a running car.
Coats and clothing
A winter coat can be helpful for pets who have been clipped, have extremely short fur or have arthritis. Most pet clothing, however, is unnecessary and impedes an animal's ability to regulate his temperature. Coats can also cause skin problems due to overheating, and so you should always take any clothing off your pet while they are inside. Never leave your pet unattended while they are wearing clothing as they may get themselves into trouble or start to overheat. Your veterinarian will be able to advise if your pet would benefit from wearing a coat.
To prevent burns, you should never let your pet sit too close to an open fire or a heater. Monitor your pet around an open fire. It's not uncommon to hear about pets who walk over the hot coals and burn their footpads. Don't forget that carbon monoxide poisoning can be a threat to pets as well as humans and heaters should always be checked by a professional for any leakage. Check smoke detectors to help protect your pets and your family.
Anyone under the bonnet?
On a cold night, cats (and even wild animals) may seek out a protected spot under your car bonnet. You should turn on your car engine and leave it running for a while before you drive away to prevent any injuries.
If you are heading to the snowfields and are using antifreeze in your car, make sure it is out of your pet's reach. Dogs and cats enjoy the taste of antifreeze, but it is extremely toxic and causes kidney failure and can lead to death. Clean up any spills of antifreeze on your driveway, and if you think your pet may have ingested antifreeze, you should seek urgent veterinary care.
Contact your veterinarian if you ever have any concerns about your pet, they are always available to give you the best advice.