We would like to remind you of a few considerations to make sure our pets are healthy and happy during this time of the year.
Colder weather brings hazards not only for outdoor pets, but also for indoor pets who spend even a limited amount of time outside. Hypothermia and frostbite can occur quickly, particularly in animals who are not acclimated to being outdoors or animals who are young, elderly, or debilitated in any way. Signs of hypothermia include shivering, pale or bluish gums, weakness, and lethargy. Skin affected by frostbite is painful and can appear reddish, white, or gray colored. Contact your veterinarian immediately if you suspect hypothermia or frostbite. Outdoor pets should have an insulated, dry shelter that provides protection from the wind. They need to have access to plenty of fresh, unfrozen water. Be sure to remove any ice or mud that accumulates on your pet’s fur to prevent frostbite to the underlying skin. Do not use portable heaters or heating pads as these can cause serious burns and are a fire hazard.
Products commonly used during cold weather can pose risks to pets as well. Just a small amount of antifreeze can be deadly if a pet ingests it, so be sure to clean up spills and store it safely. Rock salt, ice melt, and similar products can be irritating to pet’s feet and skin. If your pet comes into contact with those products, rinse the products off of your pet and dry the area well.
There are a few hazards to watch for during the holiday season as well. Potential toxins include chocolate, alcohol, coffee, poinsettias, mistletoe, holly, ivy, philodendron, and liquid potpourri. Dogs and cats that eat rich or fatty food scraps can develop pancreatitis with symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain; treatment often requires hospitalization. Holiday decorations like ornaments, tinsel, ribbon, toys, and batteries can cause serious problems if they are ingested.
Remember that the holidays can be stressful to pets. Changes in routine, travelling, and houseguests can be difficult on pets. Try to keep your pet’s routine normal if possible and avoid changes in diet. Give your pets quiet places away from activities and guests. If you plan on boarding your pets, it may help to keep their diet consistent and try to make sure they are up-to-date on vaccinations before they arrive for boarding.
If you have any concerns for your pets during this time of year, call our offices and we will be happy to help you. We want you and your pets to have a safe and happy holiday season!