StatePoint — The cold weather can be just as hard on pets as it is on people. This winter, consider these tips to keep your four-legged family members safe and warm.
Warm up on walks
If you decide to brave the cold for daily walks, there are a few risks to keep in mind. Wind chill can be dangerous, no matter what the temperature is, according to The Humane Society.
Pets can be at risk for frostbite and hypothermia during extreme cold snaps, and exposed skin on noses, ears and paw pads can quickly freeze and suffer permanent damage.
On walks, keep your pet warm with a sweater or coat. Small booties or paw gel will help keep sensitive paws from freezing. And if you’d rather not risk a slippery walk outside, try exercising your furry friend at an indoor dog park or doggy daycare.
The salt used to de-slick an icy road can be dangerous and toxic to pets, often irritating the pads of their feet. In addition, coolants and antifreeze may drip from cars, making an easy transfer to sensitive paws. When returning from a walk, be sure to wipe down paws with a damp cloth before he or she has a chance to lick them.
It’s always best to provide warm, dry shelter indoors for your pets in the winter months; however, if your pets must stay outdoors, there are a few ways to make their shelter safe and comfortable.
The Humane Society recommends raising the shelter a few inches off the ground and covering the floor with cedar shavings or straw. The doorway should be positioned away from the wind, and the shelter covered with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic. The American Veterinary Medical Association urges owners to provide unlimited access to fresh water. Change the water frequently to avoid freezing, or use a heated water bowl.
Keep pets secure
Consider your pet’s car safety before pulling out of the driveway. Pet carriers, car seats and back seat barriers can provide additional safety as you drive, especially in the event of an accident or sudden stop.
Also, you may want to explore pet injury coverage. For example, Erie Insurance automatically covers up to two dogs and/or cats that are injured in your vehicle during an accident. For more information, visit http://www.ErieInsurance.com.
“Your pet’s overall health and safety depends on your preparedness,” says Cody Cook, Erie Insurance vice president and product manager. “Check with your insurance company to make sure your pets are covered in the event of an accident. That way, instead of worrying about medical costs, you can have the peace of mind knowing they’re protected.”
This winter, take care to protect your furry friends from winter woes by following these simple tips to keep them safe and happy.