"Where Pets are Family, Too!"

78 Shaw's Ridge Road
Sanford, Maine 04073

207-324-9007



Cold Weather Pet Tips & Holiday Pet Hazards

 

 

COLD WEATHER
In Winter or very cold weather, we recommend keeping your cat inside. Outdoors, cats can freeze, become lost or be stolen, injured or killed. Cats who are allowed to stray are exposed to infectious diseases, including rabies, from other cats, dogs and wildlife.

Outdoor cats also sometimes sleep under the hoods of cars. If the car is started the cat can become injured or killed by the fan belt. If there are outdoor cats in your neighborhood, bang loudly on the hood of the car before starting the engine to give the cat a change to escape.

Always keep your dog on a leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm, dogs can lose their scent and easily become lost. More dogs are lost during the Winter than during any other season, so make sure your dog wears ID tags or has a microchip.


Make sure you wipe your dog's legs and stomach when he comes in out of the sleet, snow or ice. He can ingest salt, antifreeze or other potentially dangerous chemicals while licking his paws, and his paw pads may also bleed from snow or encrusted ice.

Never shave your dog down to the skin during Winter. A long coat will provide more warmth. When you bathe your dog in the colder months, be sure to completely dry him before taking him out for a walk. Own a short-haired breed? Consider getting him a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly.

Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator in the Winter, holding in the cold and causing the animal to potentially freeze to death. On the other hand, leaving him in the car with the heat running for an extended time period can lead to heat stroke in a small space.

Provide a warm place to sleep - off of the floor and away from drafts.

Puppies & senior dogs are more sensitive to cold so limit exposure.

Clip fur between toe pads to to reduce snow & ice collection.

During deep snows, shovel out a potty spot for your dog.


ANTIFREEZE
As winter approaches, many people will "winterize" their automobiles, including a change of antifreeze. Take care to keep both new and used antifreeze in a sealed container, out of reach of pets. Clean up any spills of antifreeze on driveways and other hard surfaces. Dogs and cats find antifreeze quite tasty and if they find antifreeze they'll drink it. Antifreeze is extremely toxic causing kidney failure that is often fatal in just a few days.
Very small amounts of antifreeze can be fatal.

RIBBONS & TINSEL
These are of special interest to playful cats and kittens who see these materials as toys (or prey) to be chased, pounced upon, chewed or swallowed. While chasing and pouncing pose no health threats, chewing and swallowing do, as these strings or “linear foreign bodies” can catch in the GI tract, leading to bunching of intestine as the body tries in vain to move the string or ribbon through. This is a life-threatening condition requiring surgery for correction. Supervise animals who play with string closely.

ELECTRIC LIGHT CORDS

These are also tempting to cats who like to play with string as well as to puppies who are teething and interested in chewing. If a pet bites through an electrical cord, it could result in a severe burn to the tongue which causes the pet’s lung to fill with fluid, causing respiratory distress. This is also an emergency requiring immediate veterinary attention.

SILICA GEL PACKS
Desiccant packs are included as moisture absorbents. They are found in shoe boxes, electronics, medications and food. Occasionally, desiccants might be used as an insecticide, particularly for slugs. Silica gel, one of the most common desiccants, is a white powder or a lustrous granule. Silica gel comes in paper packets or plastic cylinders. Packages of silica gel are attractive to pets because of the rustling noise, and the packages are easy to bat around. Most ingestions will not cause clinical signs, although a mild gastrointestinal upset may occur. If a large amount is ingested, there is potential for osmotic diarrhea occurring. In most cases, the packet will be ruptured and the contents ingested. Ingestion of the intact packet may cause a gastrointestinal obstruction.

ETHANOL
Due to their small size, cats are far more sensitive to ethanol than humans are. Even ingesting a small amount of a product containing alcohol can cause significant intoxication. Cats are attracted to mixed drinks that contain milk, cream or ice cream (e.g. White Russian, alcoholic eggnog, Brandy Alexander). Ethanol is rapidly absorbed orally and signs can develop within 30-60 minutes. Alcohol intoxication commonly causes vomiting, loss of coordination, disorientation and stupor. In severe cases, coma, seizures and death may occur. Cats who are inebriated should be monitored by a veterinarian until they recover.

RODENTICIDES
Rodenticide poisoning is the accidental ingestion of products used to kill "rodents" such as mice, rats and gophers. These products are common and accidental exposure is frequent. Poisoning is most commonly caused by ingestion of a product containing one of the following ingredients: Bromethalin, Cholecalciferol (Vitamin D3), Strychnine, Zinc phosphide, Anticoagulant (warfarin, fumarin, chlorophacinone, diphacinone, difethialone, pindone, bromadiolone, brodaficoum). Younger and older pets tend to be more sensitive to the affects of toxicity and underlying liver disease can exacerbate toxicity. The impact on the poisoned animal varies depending on the type of poison ingested. An animal may develop a bleeding disorder, neurological problems, gastrointestinal distress or kidney failure. In some cases, rodenticide poisoning is fatal.

ICE MELTS
Many brands of sidewalk ice melts are on the market. The most common ingredients in these ice melts are sodium chloride, potassium chloride, magnesium chloride, calcium carbonate, and calcium magnesium acetate. A few ice melts contain urea. Cats may be exposed by walking on the ice melts themselves or by ingesting granules brought inside on the shoes of the owner’s. Ingestion of sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium salts can lead to vomiting and electrolyte abnormalities.

CHOCOLATE

Many people do not realize that chocolate can be a poison. Unsweetened baking chocolate carries a much higher dose of the toxin “theobromine” than does milk chocolate, but even normal milk chocolate can be dangerous; a small dog sharing candy can wind up in big trouble. Clinical signs of chocolate poisoning include hyperexcitability, nervousness, vomiting, and diarrhea and death.

POINSETTIA

Consuming this festive-looking plant can be irritating to the mouth and stomach of the dog or cat that chews on or eats it. Contrary to popular belief, poinsettia is not specifically toxic.

MISTLETOE

The fact that there are several types of mistletoe makes it difficult to predict the clinical signs of poisoning. Some mistletoes produce only stomach upset while others may lead to liver failure or seizuring. Consider mistletoe to be a hazardous substance and keep it inaccessible to pets and children.

COOKING
Keep pets out of the kitchen during the hustle and bustle of the season. The last thing you want is for someone you love to get underfoot and get burned from spillage.

DIETARY INDISCRETION

We all like to include our pets in holiday meals along with the rest of the family, but try to keep in mind that sudden rich diet changes are likely to upset a pet’s stomach. Vomiting and diarrhea are not uncommon. If leftovers are of an especially fatty nature, the pancreas may become inflamed and overloaded. This condition is serious, painful and may require hospitalization.

CANDLES
Lighted candles should never be left unattended and that is even more important if left at kitty's eye level or within puppy's chewing zone. An exuberant tail or a swat of a paw can turn candles and hot wax into an instant disaster. Anchor candles securely and away from curious faces and feet.

PINE NEEDLES

Check around holiday trees frequently. Ingested pine needles can puncture your pet's intestines. Make sure your tree is well secured. If you have a tree-climbing cat or large dog with a happy tail, anchor the top of the tree to the wall, using strong cord or rope. Preservatives often used in the water in a tree stand can cause gastric upsets, so be sure it is inaccessible or not used. Avoid sugar and aspirin additives in the water as well.

ORNAMENTS
Sharp or breakable ornaments, dreidels, and even aluminum foil should be kept out of reach. String objects, especially tinsel and ribbons, are to be safeguarded at all costs. They are thin and sharp and can wrap around intestines or ball up in the stomach.

STRESS & COMPANY

With everyone coming and going, watch out for open doors and sneaky pets. Make sure your pets have updated collars and tags on in case of escape. Micro chipping your pet will also help if your pet escapes. Ask guests to keep an eye out for pets under foot and remind them that sometimes your normally friendly dog or cat may be less than willing to deal with enthusiastic children and rooms full of unfamiliar people. Provide a special quiet place with a blanket and fresh water for your pets to retreat to when the festivities get too stressful.


Have a safe an happy holiday season!

 

Past Tips

Feline Urethral Obstruction

Hot Weather Pet Tips
Heartworm
Emergencies!
Fleas: Know Your Enemy!

 

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