Winter weather is quickly approaching, and temperatures are beginning to drop. While some pets thrive in colder weather, it can be dangerous for your furry friend. Pets can experience hypothermia and frostbite. Additionally, weather conditions can be hard on your pet’s paws and increase their risk of injury.
In this article, we’ll discuss what you need to know about cold weather dangers and how to keep your pet safe this winter.
Just like people, pets can experience hypothermia if they become too cold. Some of the most common signs of hypothermia in pets include excessive shivering, lethargy, incoordination, confusion, and pale gums. In severe cases, your pet’s heart rate and breathing may begin to slow and cause them to collapse. Unfortunately, hypothermia is an extremely dangerous condition in pets and can be fatal if not treated properly.
When considering your pet’s hypothermia risk, it’s important to remember that every pet’s cold tolerance is different. Pets with shorter hair coats have less insulation and are typically more sensitive to the cold. Likewise, older pets and pets with medical conditions often struggle to regulate their body temperature and should be monitored closely.
Paw Pad Injuries
Paw pad injuries are another common problem during the winter months. Below are the three most common paw injuries that your pet may experience.
Paw Pad Cracking
The cold air can cause your pet’s paws to become dry and cracked. Without the appropriate care, these cracks can become very deep and even start to bleed. Early signs of paw pad injuries include reluctance to walk, limping, and excessive licking of the paws. These symptoms can also indicate other types of paw pad injuries, so it’s essential to examine your pet’s feet if they are showing any signs of concern.
Ice melt is commonly used to treat slick surfaces such as sidewalks and roadways. Unfortunately, the chemicals in many ice melt products can cause severe irritation and even chemical burns. The first signs of irritation include increased sensitivity and redness. In severe cases, the skin may peel or blister.
Another concern when it comes to your pet’s paws is frostbite. Pets can develop frostbite when exposed to extreme temperatures. The most common sites for frostbite include the paws, tail, and ears. In the early stages of this condition, you may notice redness, discoloration, or increased skin sensitivity. However, it can take some time to understand the full extent of your pet’s injuries. Over time, frostbitten skin will begin to turn black and die. Not only is this extremely painful for your pet, but it can also increase their risk of infection and affect their overall health.
How to Keep Your Pet Safe
While recognizing cold winter dangers is critical, you’ll also need to know how to keep your pet safe. One of the best ways you can do this is to limit your pet’s exposure to extreme temperatures and their time outdoors.
When outside, you’ll want to monitor your pet closely and stay vigilant for any signs of hypothermia or discomfort. If you think your pet is getting too cold, bring them inside and give your pet a chance to warm up slowly.
During your pet’s time outdoors, try to avoid roads that have been treated for ice. If you have slippery surfaces around your home, avoid using harmful chemicals and look for a pet-safe product. Kitty litter is an excellent way to provide traction on slick walkways and reduce the risk of injury to your pet’s paws. Even if you are using pet-safe products, wiping your pet’s feet after spending time outdoors is always a good idea.
While all of these precautions play an important role in keeping your pet safe this winter, accidents can happen, and it’s essential to act quickly. If your pet is experiencing signs of hypothermia or injury, call your veterinarian as soon as possible. In some cases, a trip to your local emergency vet clinic may be necessary to get your pet the immediate care they need.
As winter sets in, extreme temperatures and environmental hazards can put your pet’s health at risk. Knowing how to keep your pet safe is essential and could save your pet’s life.
At Voyager Harness, we are proud to offer a variety of products to help your pet enjoy the outdoors. However, we want to ensure your pet’s winter activities remain safe and fun. We hope these tips will help keep your pet out of harm’s way as they enjoy their winter adventures. Stay warm out there!