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How to keep your pet safe when the temperature drops

submitted by the Health Team of VCA Neshaminy Animal Hospital, www.vcahospitals.com

Be aware of your pet’s cold tolerance before walking – Dogs and cats are vulnerable to hypothermia and frostbite just like people. When it’s very cold outside, it’s best to avoid walking puppies and senior dogs.

Check your pet’s paws after time outdoors – Petroleum jelly or booties can be used to protect paws from salt and abrasives. Be sure to wipe down paws, legs and belly after spending time outdoors to remove deicers, antifreeze and other toxic chemicals.

Never leave your pet unattended in a vehicle – On cold days, the temperature inside your car can quickly drop, making pets vulnerable to hypothermia.

Check for pets before driving – Always check your car, driveway and garage for pets – especially outdoor and feral cats – before turning on the ignition and driving away, as they may be hiding in a warm spot.

Clean up antifreeze spills – Antifreeze can be deadly for pets and wildlife if they ingest it. Be sure to immediately clean up any spills and whenever possible, use pet-friendly products. 

Safely warm your home – Use caution with placement of space heaters, fireplaces and candles since they can burn your pet.

Don’t overfeed your pet – The extra body weight does not guarantee extra warmth or body heat, so keep your pet on a healthy diet.

Don’t shave your pet – Trimming your pet’s fur instead of shaving it is recommended in colder months.

Prevent fleas and ticks – Fleas and ticks don’t take a winter vacation so maintain their preventative medication. 

Be prepared – Create an emergency kit for each of your pets with enough food, water and medication on hand to last at least five days.