Winter Pet Health and Care Tips

Monday, November 28, 2016

Bundle up and keep your pets safe this winter season. From weather changes to family gatherings, the winter months can be hard on our pets. Pets living in moderate climates do not often acclimate well to significant drops in temperature. Even short bouts of extreme cold can cause serious or fatal health problems. Also, be extra cautious during holiday feasts, where your pet may be tempted by all the tasty treats.


A fur coat does not mean a warm pet. Hypothermia is a reality in cold weather. Keep your pet indoors as much as possible. When outside, check on your pets regularly, and make sure they have covered shelter with plenty of food and water. Blankets and thick towels will also help keep your animal warm.

Keep your pet hydrated in cold weather.
Dehydration can be life-threatening in cold weather. If your pets are outside, make sure their water bowls are filled with clean water that is not frozen.

Avoid standing water. Standing water, like puddles or lakes, can give your pet digestive problems and may carry parasites or toxins. When outdoors, remember to bring fresh, clean water for your pet.

Be aware of chemicals used in cold weather. Chemicals used to melt snow or protect gardens in the winter pose severe danger to pets. Keep a close eye on pets when they are outside, and store all chemicals out of reach. Wipe your pet’s feet when they return indoors so they can’t lick any toxic residue that may have stuck to their paws.

Don’t leave pets in the car. We all know that hot cars pose a threat to pets, but cold cars are dangerous as well. A car acts like a refrigerator in cold weather and can rapidly chill your pet. Animals that are young, old, ill or thin are particularly susceptible to cold environments and should never be left in a cold car.

Avoid toxicosis caused by chocolate. Over the holidays, chocolate is one of the top food toxicities treated at DoveLewis. Keep chocolate candy, cakes and other desserts safely out of reach of pets, and monitor pets during food prep and feasts.

Keep all candy out of reach.
Sugar can cause gastrointestinal upset, and lollipop sticks, plastic parts and wrappers can result in intestinal obstruction.

Don’t share “people food.” It may seem cruel to withhold holiday treats, but feeding pets “people food” often results in problems ranging from mild gastrointestinal upset to severe pancreatitis and even potentially life-threatening obstructions. Signs of serious problems may include vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite and depression.

Take caution with ornamental plants. While decorating for the holidays, pet owners should be aware that many ornamental plants, including poinsettias, lilies, narcissus, mistletoe and holly, are harmful to pets.

Check your pet’s registration and ID tags and update their microchip. With house guests coming and going, it’s common for unsupervised pets to get loose. Updating your pet’s microchip is the best way to ensure your lost pet will be returned. You may also post lost pet information on the DoveLewis online Lost and Found Pet Database.

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