BERRIEN COUNTY, Ind. — With all the snow and freezing temperatures, it’s important to take steps to protect your pets because it can be deadly for them!
Dr. Christine Hunter, a veterinarian at Arrow Pet Clinic in Coloma, provides some tips on how to keep these four-legged animals safe.
When walking your pets, she says make sure they’re wearing jackets, shoes and sweaters.
Pet owners should be careful with salt on roads and sidewalks. According to Dr. Hunter, this can cause irritation and pain in their feet. She stresses how important it is that animals don’t eat snow contaminated with chemicals, salt or antifreeze, as it can be harmful if ingested.
Once inside, be sure to dry, clean and warm your feet.
According to Dr. Hunter, the time to let animals out varies depending on their age, coat and body condition. But use yourself as a reference, she says.
“Most of the time, you can use yourself as a reference. If you’ve only been outside for a few minutes and your face and skin are hurting, it’s likely your pet. The same would be true for them. The minimum time for them to go out or do what they need to do and come back, Dr. Hunter said.
Dogs can experience frostbite from being outdoors for long periods of time, just like people. She says checking their skin, toes, and the tips of their ears or tails can be helpful. If it starts looking blue or purple or feels cool to the touch, she says it needs to be addressed immediately.
Cats can also be affected if they live too close to windows or where they sleep is not warm enough.
There are people whose dogs and cats usually live outside. But with such conditions, it can be difficult for them to get proper shelter. Dr. Hunter says to keep them inside until the temperature warms up.
“If there’s a way to bring them in when it’s cold, even if they’re used to being outside and used to cold weather, it still gets to the point where it’s too cold for them to be outside. When it’s cold So it’s best for them to find ways to bring them in,” says Dr. Hunter.
If you have any questions or concerns, be sure to call your local veterinarian, she says.