Keeping pets safe throughout the winter
A new pets column will debut in 2022 to assist you in keeping your pets healthy and safe. Dr. Meg Varner-Soden, DVM, of Johnson College, discusses various winter risks that can injure your dogs and what we should do if they are exposed. Let's get this party started.
The ice melts.
Salt, such as potassium chloride or calcium chloride, is commonly used in these items. Their goal is to prevent ice formation on sidewalks and increase traction by lowering the freezing point of water.
When our dogs and outdoor cats come into extended contact with these salts, they risk experiencing inflammation of the paw pads or the skin webbing between them. They can also swallow them by licking their feet when they come inside, chewing snow in the yard where ice melt has been sprinkled, or getting into a bag of it when it is not securely stored.
Small amounts of food can cause gastrointestinal upset, such as vomiting and diarrhea. If your pet consumes a larger amount, complications such as mouth ulcers or changes in the body's electrolytes may occur. Tremors or seizures can result from severe sodium imbalances in the body.
To aid with paw difficulties, do the following:
• When they return into the house, wipe their paws quickly.
• Teach your dog to tolerate wearing booties on their feet when walking.
• Before going out, apply paw wax or balm.
You can look for "pet-friendly" ice melt products, which are usually safer, or use kitty litter or sand instead. Please keep in mind that while certain goods may be safer, they still pose a risk of stomach problems if consumed. Also, keep in mind that you have control over what is used on your property, but not necessarily everywhere you and Fido go.
Ethylene glycol, a sweet-tasting alcohol derivative, is the active harmful component. Radiator coolant is the most typical source, but it can also be found in motor oil, braking fluid, de-icing windshield wiper fluid, wood stains, paints, and solvents.
It can also be used to conceal solar panels, basketball post bases, and even snow globes. Some individuals put antifreeze solutions in seasonal toilet bowls (such as those in cabins) to keep them from freezing over the winter and then forget about it until the spring. Dogs and cats who drink from toilets are especially vulnerable!
Antifreeze products must be handled and stored with utmost caution by pet owners. A deadly dose could be as little as a few tablespoons, or even less if the animal is small. When swallowed, ethylene glycol causes life-threatening acute renal failure, which can be fatal within 72 hours.
Depression, disorientation, and intoxicated behavior are some of the clinical indications that an animal may exhibit during toxicosis. Excessive drooling, vomiting, increased drinking and urination, and potentially seizures and coma are also signs to check for. A accurate and timely diagnosis is critical, and antidote treatment must begin within three hours for cats and eight hours for dogs, so see your veterinarian right away. Those with children should be aware that this can be toxic to them.
The majority of our cherished friends have been accustomed to spending time indoors with us. If you're cold and need to bundle up, chances are they do, too. If your pet spends too much time outside in the cold, unprotected, hypothermia can develop.
The average body temperature of dogs and cats is higher than that of humans. Neglectful exposure to the outdoors is such a worry that Governor Tom Wolf enacted Libre's Law in 2017, prohibiting the tethering of dogs out of doors for more than 30 minutes in freezing weather, defined as temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
Low body temperature for an extended period of time causes chaos in the body, affecting everything from the heart and blood vessels to the immune system and the brain. There's a chance you'll get frostbite. Shivering, drowsiness, disorientation and incoordination, tight muscles, and reduced heart and respiratory rates are all symptoms of hypothermia.
Shock, brain damage, coma, and death can all result from these problems. The greatest cure for this ailment is to avoid it altogether. To overcome this scenario, careful external rewarming is required, and in the most severe cases, quick veterinarian assistance may be required.