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Tue, Nov 21, 2017 05:57 AM
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue

Five ways to safeguard pets this winter


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01/19/2007 - Winter can be a challenging time for people, but pets are also at risk when the weather is frosty. Special safety precautions should be taken to safeguard them against common winter weather hazards.

1. Antifreeze — This substance is very toxic to animals, particularly the ethylene glycol variety. Because it has a sweet smell and taste, pets are naturally attracted to it. To prevent accidental ingestion, consider using the safe propylene glycol varieties of antifreeze, which cost just a little more.

2. Inadequate shelter — Many companion animals spend the majority of their time outdoors. For those animals that reside outside, it is essential to ensure they have adequate shelter against the elements. This includes a well-insulated floor of a safe material, such as straw, and a roof and walls to keep out the wind. Do not use electric heaters or pads to heat a dog house, etc. This can lead to fires.

3. Aches and pains — Just as cold weather can cause joint pain to flare up in people, so, too, do older or frail pets suffer. Make sure the pet is well insulated from the cold and limit time outdoors when the weather is particularly brutal. Massaging and petting the animal and applying warm compresses can help soothe achy limbs. Never medicate an animal with pain relievers you may take yourself. Just one TylenolTM can prove deadly to cats.

4. Snow-melting salt — The chemicals in snow-melt products can be caustic and irritating to animal paws, which may be extra sensitive from walking on snowy ground. Consider pet-safe alternatives or invest in booties that are placed on the pet's paws to shield against the elements.

5. Drafts — Tropical birds and other pets that are used to warm, moist weather should not be exposed to drafts. Keep them away from cold windows and doors.

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