Winter is here! BRRRR…..

Some tips for keeping your pet happy and healthy during the Cold Months

    • Cars: Never leave your pet in a cold car during cold weather. A car acts like a refrigerator holding in cold air and can result in your pet freezing to death.
    • Housing: Ensure that your pet has housing that is out of the wind and ideally, slightly off the ground with plenty of insulation (i.e.: straw) for the floor of his house. Even an outdoor animal will suffer when the temperature drops below freezing without a well protected house: he should have a draft free, warm and cozy place even if he is an outdoor pet.
    • Water: Ensure that there is always fresh unfrozen water. Heated water dishes are available at most pet stores. Due to dry winter air, your pet will need more water.
    • Food: Increase the amount of food in the winter, especially protein, and keep your pet’s coat clean and free of mats as this will allow your pet to best protect himself from the cold.
    • Keep cats indoors: During cold weather outdoor cats often sleep under the hood of a warm car if they do not have a protected area to sleep. When the engine is started, cats can be injured or killed by the fan belt. If you have outdoor cats in your area, bang on the car hood before you start it.
    • Antifreeze is lethal: But is also attractive to dogs as it has a sweet smell. Keep these products high on shelves, pick up any spills, and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol. It’s also more eco friendly! Visit the ASPCA Poison Control Center for more information.
    • Clean Paws: Wipe your dog off thoroughly after being outside, especially paws. Salt, antifreeze and other potentially dangerous chemicals can be ingested while your pet grooms himself. Painful ice balls can also form between his toes.
    • Keep Pet Warm: Invest in a pet sweater for your short haired or elderly dog.
    • Lakes are a Danger: This area is known for its lakes, but they can be dangerous in the winter. Use caution when the water appears completely frozen.
    • Older dogs may be reluctant to walk on ice and snow. Consider dog booties.
    • Dogs can lose their scent and become lost in snow storms: make sure yours always wears ID tags and are microchipped.
    • Puppies and Kittens: While giving a new puppy or kitten might seem like the perfect Christmas gift, the holidays are not the best time. There is already so much to attend to with guests coming and going, Christmas trees and decorations, travel plans etc. adding a new baby to the mix can be stressful.
    • Coming into a new home is already difficult for a puppy or kitten, the chaos of the holidays makes it very hard to provide a safe and secure environment for your new pet.
    • And let’s face it, who wants to potty train a puppy in the Indiana winter? Instead, pick a more peaceful time when you and your family’s schedule allows for you to provide the time and attention your new pet deserves. This makes the transition easier and all the more enjoyable for you.
    • Puppies do not tolerate cold weather as well as adult animals. Housebreaking during the winter is much more difficult so consider getting a puppy during warmer weather.
    • Holiday Danger Zones: Some Tips for keeping your pet OUT of our wellness center during the holiday….
  • Keep bones out of reach: Turkey bones can be very tempting. Bones can cause intestinal blockage, punctures and tears to the intestinal tract as well as potentially deadly bleeding.
  • Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas dinner is for you not your pets. While you feel the urge to share the feast with your pet, this is a bad idea. Fat trimmings and fatty foods can trigger pancreatitis in dogs.
  • Keep pets out of the kitchen. Pets can easily get underfoot while cooks are busy preparing holiday meals. Both humans and pets can be harmed from hot items dropped.
  • Consider confining your pet when guests arrive. Though some cats and dogs are very social, some are not and some are frightened by the holiday confusion. This may cause an otherwise docile pet to bite or scratch when scared. Many animals find a house full of enthusiastic strangers frightening.
  • If you have a live tree, keep the water in the container covered. Some additives to prolong the tree life and pine sap can be dangerous if ingested.
  • Poinsettias and mistletoe can be toxic to your pets – keep them out of reach.
  • Don’t leave tree lights on when you’re not around as pets may tangle themselves in or chew on the electrical cords. Unplug the lights when not in use.
  • Secure your Christmas tree to prevent pets from knocking it over.
  • Clean up tinsel, ribbons and ornament hooks. These are attractive and shiny to a pet but may result in intestinal blockage. If your pet seems interested in the tree, decorate the bottom 1/3 of the tree with plastic or wood ornaments that won’t break if knocked off with a happy tail.
  • If you are traveling with your pet, ensure that you have adequate water for the ride and make frequent stops. Always keep your dog on a leash.
  • Dogs and cats that are usually very good at staying near by may get frightened and dart out into traffic due to the change of environment.
  • The holiday season is a common time for illness and injuries in pets. Keep the emergency vet and poison control numbers handy: Print this and post it on the refrigerator.
  • ASPCA Poison Control: (888) 426-4435
    (A fee applies)