Winter Pet Safety
Texas winters are unpredictable! When the outdoor temperature drops, it is important to keep your pets safe and comfortable. We’ve listed some of the most common dangers you need to consider:
Cold Weather Chemicals
If you plan to take your dog on extended walks, be sure to bring a towel to clean and dry stinging, irritated paws. After each walk, wash and dry your pet’s feet and stomach to remove ice, salt and chemicals. Because they lick their paws after a walk, dogs are at a particular risk of poisoning. Antifreeze is another deadly poison, but it has a sweet taste that can attract animals and children. Wipe up any antifreeze spills immediately and keep it, like all household chemicals, out of reach.
Pets burn more calories during the winter in order to stay warm. Feed your pet a little bit more during cold weather months to help provide much-needed calories. Routinely check your pet’s outdoor water dish to make certain his water is fresh and unfrozen. Use plastic food and water bowls; when the temperature is low, your pet’s tongue can stick and freeze to metal ones. Washing your pets too often during winter months can remove essential oils and increase the chances of your pets developing dry, flaky skin. If your pet must be bathed, make certain to use a moisturizing shampoo.
Despite his natural fur coat, your pet can freeze or become injured as a result of extended exposure to cold temperatures. Here is a good rule of thumb: if it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet. Dogs may still enjoy going on walks, but make certain that they are not left outside for extended periods of time. If your pet must be outdoors for any length of time, he must be protected by a dry, draft-free shelter. Be sure that it is large enough to allow him to move comfortably, but small enough to hold in his body heat. The floor should be raised a few inches from the ground and covered with cedar shavings or straw. The doorway should be covered with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic. Cats should not be left outdoors without shelter for extended periods, even if they roam outside during other seasons.
Because pets are more prone to be disoriented by cold weather (especially snow), it is a good idea to make certain that their microchip and ID tag information are up-to-date. If your pet doesn’t have a microchip or engraved ID tag, TCAP provides those services during our walk-in vaccine hours. You can check out our online calendar to see when you can bring your pet by a TCAP location anytime at: https://texasforthem.org/hours-locations/vaccinations/