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Winter Weather: Tips for Keeping Pets Safe in the Cold

two dogs and a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever and Jack Russell in nature from Christmas trees

Winter has been hitting North Carolina hard recently. Here are some important safety tips for your pets when facing colder temperatures and snowy or icy days:

  • Snow can be fun for everyone and daily exercise is necessary for health but be mindful of the temperature and the time spent outdoors. Fur does not mean complete protection from the cold. Don’t leave pets outside in extremely cold weather. If it’s too cold for you to stay out, it’s too cold for them.
  • Check your dog’s paws for ice around the pads and for irritation from sidewalk and road salt, which can lead to cracked paws, discomfort and possible infection. It’s a good idea to wash paw pads with room temperature water and smooth petroleum jelly on the pads.
  • Be careful on off-leash hikes that your dog does not venture out onto frozen ponds and lakes to break through too thin an ice cover.
  • Be aware colder temperatures may mean outdoor cats and wildlife may find car engines offer a warm respite.
  • Make sure horses and other outdoor animals have constant access to liquid water when the temperature drops below freezing.
  • Some manufacturers are changing chemicals used in antifreeze, but assume any spills are highly toxic and even a few licks or walking through the fluid can be deadly.
  • Other potentially dangerous items include windshield washing fluid and ice melt products that can cause gastrointestinal tract irritation, depression, weakness, seizures, cardiac issues, and other life-threatening issues.