Take care of your pets this Winter

With the onset of winter, there are several things you can do to help insure the health and safety of your animals. Many animals that are kept outdoors during summer are often brought inside, or into the garage during the cold winter months. In the garage, make sure all chemicals are safely stored away, and any leaking containers or spills are cleaned up, especially items like Antifreeze: This can be a year round potential problem. Antifreeze is HIGHLY TOXIC and both cats and dogs are attracted to the sweet smell and taste, and will often sample some if spilled or left out in the open. Antifreeze is rapidly absorbed by your pet’s internal organs and there is a high mortality rate. Common symptoms are stumbling, nausea, vomiting and lack of coordination. The nervous system, gastrointestinal, liver and kidneys are all affected, and even if the animal seems to improve initially with treatment, they often succumb shortly after to kidney failure.. Success of treatment is dependant upon quick action. If you suspect that your animal has come in contact with antifreeze contact your veterinarian immediately.

Other garage related hazards are Rat and Mouse Poisons. Warfarin is the active ingredient in most rodent poisons and it too is HIGHLY TOXIC. Whether eaten alone, or ingested through eating a dead rodent, Warfarin is deadly.  It is an anticoagulant that inhibits the blood’s ability to clot. Symptoms include weakness, bloody noses, urine or feces or coughing up of blood. Many pet owners mistakenly believe that vomiting must be present in cases where an animal has ingested rat poison, this is not the case. Here also, success of treatment is dependant upon quick action, so call your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your pet may have gotten into any poisons. Just like us, our pets have different nutritional requirements when it is colder out. They may eat more if they are outside a lot. Be aware of this, but don’t overfeed an already hefty dog. Obesity is as much a health hazard for our pets as it is for us. Make sure your pet is still getting enough exercise. Be careful when walking, or playing with your arthritic dog in any icy areas as a slip or fall could injure, or exacerbate any joint related issues. Around the home, make sure your pet has plenty of fresh water available and that if the water’s outside that it hasn’t frozen over. Also if your pet is outside at night that they have a warm, dry place to bed down.

In conclusion, pets have similar needs as we do in the winter, warmth, good nutrition, fresh water, fresh air and sufficient exercise. Keep them away from rodent poisons and antifreeze, always buying animal friendly nontoxic antifreeze whenever possible.

Steve Coburn

Country Aire Pet Resort