Winter Hazards – How to stay safe

Winter is a wonderful time of year- making snowmen and enjoying the weather with our pets can be lots of fun! With the busy Christmas season and cold weather we don’t always take the time to consider the additional hazards at this time of year. 

It can be something small, like leaving the mostly empty container of antifreeze in the garage. After Fluffy the family pet licks it up and gets rushed to emergency, it’s not something small anymore. Knowing what can be dangerous is the first step to prevention.

Common hazards during the winter season:

  • Frost bite
  • Antifreeze ingestion
  • Ingestion of toxic food (chocolate, etc.)
  • Decorations (poinsettias, etc.)
  • Stress from holiday gatherings/change
  • Hypothermia
  • Salt for melting ice (ingestion and paw injuries)
  • Fireplaces / heaters
  • Sore joints and arthritis

With these hazards in mind the next step is to know how to implement precautious in your home and lifestyle to keep your pet safe.

  • Have the appropriate clothing for your pet. Booties and a warm jacket work well to keep them warm. Protecting paws from the salt is also an important use for booties.
  • Keep everything dangerous to ingest either out of the house (like poinsettias), in a pet proof container, or out of the pet’s reach.
  • Check the weather before taking your pet outside for playtime/walks and plan accordingly.
  • Use a fireplace screen or gate off heaters to keep curious pets away.
  • Take notice of your pet’s behaviour during holiday festivities. Be mindful of signs of stress or anxiety and act accordingly. Giving them a safe space with calming music and distractions can help. We also have some supplements and medications that can help ease the stress.
  • Offer an orthopedic bed and warm places to rest so they can soothe their sore joints.

Being aware and cautious is the best way to have a safe and fun winter. Enjoy the snow and Christmas joy with your pets this season. Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday from Lynwood Animal Hospital!