Winter is a pleasure here in Colorado. Picturesque snow peaks, colorful sunsets, and long ski weekends are undeniably a great advantage to calling the Centennial State home. However, winter weather also comes with some hazards, particularly to our furry friends. Fortunately, if you are informed, you can keep your pet healthy and happy this season.

Wipe Your Pet’s Paws

During winter, the sidewalk is covered in all types of toxic chemicals, from antifreeze to salt to other deicing products. These can be extremely detrimental to your pet’s health, so you want to make sure they don’t lick their paws and get sick. For deicing your own home, make sure to get pet-friendly formulas, and every time you bring your dog home from a walk, make sure to wipe off their paws. In addition, take the time to check from any injuries they may acquire from the ice or rough salt.

Don’t Forget the Leash

Unfortunately, winter is the most common time for pets to go missing. This is because the snow can make it difficult for them to get home by scent. Be cognizant of this problem and make sure your dog is always leashed when you take them on walks. Prepare for the potential for them to become separated from you by keeping their collar up-to-date with your contact information, and microchipping them.

Check the Hood

It’s common for cats to seek shelter in car wheel wells during the winter months. Unfortunately, many cats die every year when an unsuspecting person starts their car and inadvertently crush them with the moving parts. You can prevent this by always checking your car before you start it. It can be helpful to honk the horn or bang on the hood to give any cats hiding in your car the chance to escape before you hit the road.

Stay Seen

Wintertime means shorter days, which can be trouble when you’re walking your pup after dark. Make sure you and your dog wear reflective gear so that cars can see you as you’re walking. Also,avoid walking in the street when possible

Keep Them Inside

During winter, your pets should live inside, even if they are usually kept outside. This is especially true in sub-zero temperatures. If this isn’t an option, make sure they have a shelter that offers a dry and draft-free home for them that will allow them to preserve body heat. Any pet who spends a lot of time outside will need more food than usual to preserve energy due to the efforts their body must put in to stay warm. Make sure food and water dishes are plastic, not metal, which their tongues can become stuck to.

Avoid and Clean Up Spills

An antifreeze spill can be quite dangerous to your pets. They may be intrigued by it due to its sweet smell and taste, but it can cause illness or even death when ingested. If you spill antifreeze, always clean it up thoroughly and immediately, and store it somewhere they can’t reach.

At Countryside Animal Hospital, we would love to support your pet’s health this winter through our veterinary services. Whether you’re looking for vaccinations, microchipping, or an annual wellness checkup, we can help! Contact us our Fort Collins vet office today.