This can be a hazard for pet feet if we get snow. Most ice melts contain large amounts of sodium chloride or rock salt which can cause damage to the paw pads when stepped on. Ingestion of these melts can also cause mild to severe toxicity resulting in upset stomach, vomiting, and neurologic signs (trouble walking, muscle tremors, or seizures). If this is something you use to melt ice on pavement, look for the “pet-friendly” ice melts such as Safe-T-Pet and Safe Paw. Wash your pet’s paws off when they come in from outside. A quick and easy way to protect your dog's feet from snow and ice is dog boots - Ruffwear, Muttluks, and Pawz are all good brands. For dogs that won't tolerate boots, Musher's Secret is a good protectant product to place on their pads before heading outside. Dogs that collect ice balls in the fur between their toes and pads - wrap their paws in a warm towel fresh from the dryer. Don't dip their feet in hot water or use scissors to cut out the ice....and never try to pull the ice balls out. Ouch!
Frost-Bite & Hypothermia
During the extreme cold temperatures it is possible that your pet could rapidly develop frostbite or hypothermia. Areas at risk for frostbite are your pet's ears, tail and paws. When it gets cold, the body naturally pulls blood from all extremities to the internal organs to retain body heat. Dogs that have short fur, are small, are puppies or are geriatric are at greater risk for hypothermia. Try to keep the time spent outside to a minimum and use sweaters/coats or booties to keep them warm.
Cats and cars
When starting your car in the winter, it is a good idea to bang on the hood or honk the horn to scare away any stray sleepers. An outdoor cat or stray cat may find a warm car engine a great place to take a nap. If the car is started, it can cause severe injuries or death once the fan belt starts moving.
These products are commonly used more during the colder months and can be very dangerous for your pets. Because there are different ingredients in the blocks or pellets that commonly look the same, always keep packaging from rat or mouse killers in the event your pet ingests them. This will help us to quickly identify the toxin and determine the specific treatments for your pet. Rodenticides can cause multiple symptoms depending on the ingredient in the bait (internal bleeding, brain swelling, and kidney failure) and can be fatal in pets. When using rodent poisons, use the protective bait stations and always keep them in areas where your pet cannot access them.
Enjoy our beautiful Northwest winters...and stay safe out there!