Fans of the popular HBO series the “Game of Thrones” are accustomed to attacks from dragons and the unexpected deaths of some of their favorite characters. The phrase “winter is coming” has become synonymous with this fictional favorite, but the approach of colder months shouldn’t mean that any harm should come to our beloved pets.
While lurking death and danger from above in the form of fire-breathing dragons often happens in an instant while viewing this show, here in the real world, flying animals like bats can carry dangerous diseases like rabies and other potential health problems for our pets. Since we’re looking at getting more realistic when it comes the protection of our four-legged best friends, we need to examine threats that can be found in the real world during winter.
If you live in the city, or even some rural areas where counties or some local authorities use salt or other chemicals for snow and ice removal, these ingredients can be harmful to our pet’s sensitive paws. After taking walks or when they come indoors, be sure to wash their feet with soap and warm water. Dry them off with a cloth and don’t use a hair dryer as this could cause further unnecessary harm.
Also, check their feet regularly for mud, ice, rocks or other debris that could have become trapped in between their paws. Consider trimming the hair on their feet and be on the lookout for cracks, chafing and dryness that could become more serious without care and attention.
Indoor / Outdoor
We all know that we shouldn’t leave pets outdoors when the temperature nears freezing, but for those pets that do spend time outside in a yard or other enclosure during the day, make sure their water isn’t frozen. You’d be surprised how many animals suffer from dehydration during the winter months due to this situation.
During colder times, outdoor felines and feral cats often seek heat and refuge under a car’s hood near the warmth of an engine. Give these unwanted stowaways some notice before starting your car, bang on the hood with your hand, slam the door and honk the horn before turning the key. Performing any or all of these behaviors before starting the engine could save a life.
As winter approaches, many DIY motorists will flush and add antifreeze to their radiators and just a few drops of this toxic liquid could be deadly for animals. Be sure to store unused containers safely and clean up any spills, no matter how small. Never let your pet drink from puddles or gutters during these colder months since you never know if these waters could be contaminated.
Watch For Signs
Shivering and shaking could be signs that your pet is too cold, but they could also be symptoms of hypothermia that animal owners should be on the lookout for including:
- Lethargy or depression
- Weakness or listlessness
- Reduced heart rate
- Fixed and dilated pupils
- Difficulty breathing or panting
If you see any of these signs of these symptoms in your animal, take them to the veterinarian immediately as they could slip into a coma or even die from hypothermia. A few extra precautions and taking some time to keep an eye on your pet will keep them safe and warm this winter.
Amber Kingsley is a freelance writer whom has donated countless hours supporting her local shelters. With writing, she has spent most of her research on animals with regards to food, health and training.