One of the biggest dangers for dogs and cats during winter comes from antifreeze and rock salt. While the chemicals in them help keep our roads and pathways nice and clear for cars and pedestrians, ingesting small amounts of these chemicals can make our pets ill, and in some cases can even cause kidney failure.
Many animals find the taste of antifreeze very attractive, and accidental poisonings due to spills and leaks from containers, as well as leaking water coolant from cars happen every year. Keep containers of antifreeze in secure containers away from pets and check your car for any leaks - particularly if you have a cat who is fond of taking refuge underneath it. If you're a dog owner, be vigilant while out on walks and make sure your dog doesn't try to lick anything while crossing roads that may contain antifreeze.
Signs of antifreeze poisoning can start to show within 30 minutes and include vomiting, sleepiness, lack of co-ordination and increased thirst – if you suspect your pet may have ingested antifreeze you should take your four-legged-friend to the vet straight away.
Rock salt - which is commonly used to de-ice roads, paths and sidewalks is a mixture of grit and sodium chloride (salt). Because dogs and cats commonly lick their paws and fur after returning home from the cold, there is a risk that they can ingest some of this dangerous salt which can cause vomiting, thirst, lethargy and severe cases, convulsions and kidney damage.
The grit in rock salt can also irritate the paws of our animals' when small amounts get stuck between their pads and on their paws after walking through gritted snow – so it's important to wash their paws whenever they come back in to the home.
Pet wipes are a great and convenient way to clean your pets' furry feet, and many products exist specifically designed for paws, some of which also contain natural moisturising agents such as Aloe Vera and Vitamin E – which are great for soothing and repairing cold chapped and damaged skin during winter.
Here's a few more top tips to take care of your pet this winter:
It might sound odd, but rubbing a little petroleum jelly or cooking oil on your pet's paws before they venture outside can help prevent damage to their pads from frosty ice and snow. Keep the wipes handy though when they come back home though to remove it and give their paws a quick once-over.
Trim between the toes
Short fur between dogs' paw pads reduces the chance of ice-balls sticking to them, which can effect walking and cause discomfort. Keeping your pet's fur short between the toes - especially if you have a long-haired dog can be a great help.
When buying products to melt snow and ice - check for pet-safe brands or choose not-toxic options including sand, gravel - or even non-clumping cat litter, which also works a treat!
Check your car for cats!
If you're a cat owner, you'll know they like to gravitate to warmer places, always check under and around your car in winter for cats keeping-warm, particularly if the engine has recently been running. Give the exterior or the hood a quick knock-knock before setting off.
Have lots of fun!
Even though it's cold for us humans - winter can be a great time to have fun out and about with your pets in the park and in the countryside. Don't forget to send us and post photos of you and your pets - we'll share the best of them here on We Love Wipes!