Keep Your Pet Safe During the Winter Months

Central Oregon Winter | Pet Safety Tips

Whether your best friend is tagging along on the backtrails or you’re just taking a walk in your neighborhood winter wonderland,  learn how to keep your pets safe and protect them from potential winter hazards. Chances are, if you love being outdoors in winter, your pet does, too. Clumped ice on paws and lacerations from a sharp snowboard edge, however, will definitely put the freeze on winter fun.

Veterinary Emergency Room Doctor, Taylor Stockdale, recently joined VRCVET show host, Dr. Jennifer Bentley to share tips on winter pet safety.

Watch the Winter Pet Safety Discussion

The following are timely tips shared by Dr. Taylor Stockdale:

Make Booties Standard Attire in Snow & Ice

Avoid lacerations on paws from sharp ski and snowboard edges with a set of booties. Not only will your pet be better protected from cuts, she’ll be warmer, too. Added bonus: booties prevent ice clumps from forming on paws, particularly in longer-haired breeds.

Yes, your pet may walk funny at first in her new paw-wear, but she’ll warm up to them! Practice indoors and have a few treats ready for positive reinforcement. Check out VRC’s recommendations for snow booties, along with other winter pet protection tips here.

Musher’s Secret is another option for preventing ice clumps. It’s an oil-based wax that provides an extra layer of protection from the ice, but will not prevent or protect paws from getting cut by a sharp edge.

My Pet’s Paw Got Cut—Now What?

Ouch! Your pet’s paw made contact with your ski—now there’s blood on the snow, and it looks like a lot of it. Don’t panic! Paws are very vascular, but it’s likely less blood than you think. The laceration is also likely to be pretty clean. The best thing to do is have a bandage ready to wrap the paw to protect it from further damage, and get to the vet. Read our blog to learn more about how to ski safely with your dog.

Keep Your Pet Warm

Some breeds, like Bernese Mountain dogs, are made for the winter weather, and love it. Your pit bull, boxer, or bulldog may love it, too, but his short, coarse coat may need an extra coat to keep him toasty. Even if your pet is not prone to hypothermia, it’s important to get him reasonably dry so he can warm up quickly after a winter outing.

Antifreeze is Hazardous to Your Pet’s Health

Antifreeze made with ethylene glycol can cause severe—and fatal—kidney damage in your pet. Antifreeze is absorbed very quickly and the damage can occur fast. Both cats and dogs may be attracted to the sweet taste. If you suspect your pet has ingested antifreeze:

Call a poison control hotline such as the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center
Get to the vet. The earlier the intervention (within one hour), the greater the chance of a better prognosis. Decontamination may require a few days in the hospital.

To prevent the worst from happening, store antifreeze well away from anywhere pets could access it, and check to make sure your vehicle isn’t leaking fluid.

Antifreeze that contains propylene glycol is potentially less hazardous to pets than antifreeze that contains ethylene glycol, but it is still considered a toxin. While it is a safer choice, if your pet ingests it, see your veterinarian ASAP.

With the right pet gear and a few precautions, you and your pet can embrace the cold and snow and enjoy a happy, healthy winter!