Twin Falls Veterinary Clinic & Hospital offers tips for keeping pets safe during the winter.

TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — Most of us take sensible steps to take care of ourselves during the winter, but we need to think about keeping our pets safe too. Twin Falls Veterinary Clinic & Hospital shares tips on how to ensure the safety and well-being of your pets during this type of weather.

Cold weather can be enjoyed safely with our furry companions as long as you take some sensible precautions, such as bundling up and staying indoors when possible. Other suggestions include:

1. Protect the claws. – Salt and ice melting chemicals can be harmful to your pet’s claws. Be sure to clean their paws after walks and consider melting pet-safe snow on your property. Pet boots can also provide protection and warmth during winter walks.

2. Monitor food intake. – Some pets may need extra calories to generate energy and stay warm during cold weather, while others need a calorie deficit. MacMillan encourages pet owners to talk to their veterinarians about food intake during the winter.

3. Have a full bowl of water – It is a common misconception that pets are only at risk of dehydration in hot temperatures. However, cold weather can cause dehydration in pets, so make sure they always have access to fresh water.

4. Be careful with space heaters – Keep pets away from space heaters and other heat sources, as they can burn or catch fire if knocked over.

5. Stay up to date on vaccines – Make sure your pet’s vaccinations are current, as cold weather can increase their risk of contracting certain diseases.

6. Do not leave pets in the car. – While many pet owners understand the dangers of leaving pets in hot cars, cold cars can be just as dangerous for pets. The interior of the car is as cold as a refrigerator, causing animals to freeze.

7. Keep bathing to a minimum – Just like humans, it’s common for pets to have dry, itchy and shiny skin during the winter. The ASPCA advises pet owners to minimize bathing and keep their homes humid to prevent dry pet skin during the winter. However, be sure to wash your dog’s paws after a winter walk.

8. Check your engine. – Outdoor and feral cats often use hot engines as a source of heat in cold temperatures. Before using your vehicle, ensure the safety of outdoor animals by checking under your vehicle and honking to warn any furry visitors.

9. See symptoms of hypothermia and frostbite – If your pet shows symptoms such as shivering, lethargy, frostbite, or skin discoloration, contact your veterinarian immediately. Check your pet’s ears, tail and paws for signs of frostbite, which may appear as pale or gray skin that is cool to the touch.

10. Be prepared for power outages and storms – In the event of power outages and outages from potential winter storms, it’s wise to make sure you have enough supplies to last you a few days.

“Obviously they can go through a sensible process as a person, there’s a tremor, say they’re clear right away,” said Zygmund Sinto, medical director of Twin Falls Veterinary. “These symptoms may show up the next day, where you have a pet that starts to lick the paws and constantly claws at the body, for example the ears.”

In light of the cold and rainy winter weather we’ve already begun to experience, it’s important for pet owners and pet sitters to have the knowledge to provide proper pet care. And be well equipped with skills.

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