10 Winter Care Tips for Sienna’s Pets

Brian E. Smith, DVM

As the temperatures begin to drop during our winter months, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

1. All dogs and cats need to be on a heartworm, intestinal worm, and flea preventative all year long. I see many cases of flea infestations in December, January, and February due to cost conscious folks trying to save money by not applying flea prevention in winter months. Do not make this mistake.

2. If you park your car outside and it is very cold, it is a good idea to honk the horn prior to starting the engine. Cats find a warm engine a nice resting place in cold weather and starting your car with a kitty resting around the engine can be a disaster.

3. Antifreeze is very tasty to dogs and cats and it is very deadly. This problem is more uncommon here, but if you use antifreeze in your car, make sure it does not leak and your pets cannot get into the bottle. I have seen many antifreeze toxicity cases in Texas, and they are very difficult to save.

4. Wipe down your pet with a towel after walking on snow or ice. It is a nice gesture to warm the towel in a clothes dryer first.

5. Pets can slip on ice and injure themselves or you. If your pet is prone to dragging you down the street on a leash, it is probably best to avoid walking them at all during extreme icy conditions. Do backyard exercise as an alternative.

6. It is never alright to leave your pet in your car for extended periods, especially when the weather is very cold. Just like the car becomes an “oven” in the summer, it becomes a “freezer” in the winter.

7. Pets that spend a great deal of time outdoors must come indoors during the extreme cold. If the temperature is less than 45 degrees, your dog and cat need to be in the house except while getting exercise and potty breaks.

8. If you have a cat, do not leave string for wrapping gifts out where they can get into it and eat it. Also, avoid decorating a Christmas tree or other parts of the house with string decorations. If your cat is fascinated with the Christmas tree, spraying the cat with a spray bottle filled with water can be a good, humane deterrent to get away.

9. Puppies and kittens are popular additions to the family around the holidays. Adding a member to the family should always be planned and thought out. It is better to make sure a puppy fits well with your lifestyle and family than it is to surprise a family member during the holidays.

10. Don’t forget to spoil your pet this holiday season when you are out doing your shopping. Pets love presents just as much as we do!

*Information used in this blog was furnished in part by the ASPCA.

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