Snow may look like fun for your pets, and provide fun clips for social media.  But winter weather (especially snow and ice) and your pet could be a deadly combination.  SoJO 104.9 urges you to keep your pets safe from winter weather using these safety tips.

Cold-weather pet-safety tips (courtesy of BluePearl Veterinary Partners):

•       Dogs and cats get frostbite! Any dog or cat who is exposed to very cold temperatures for more than brief periods of time can develop frostbite.  If pets begin to shiver or their ears, tail, and feet show signs of frostbite such as redness in the early stages and pale, white or patches in more advanced cases of frostbite, bring them inside immediately.

•       When outside, ice and snow can accumulate between your pet’s toes causing irritation and pain. In addition, de-icers that are used to clear roadways, sidewalks and driveways can cause a lot of irritation to their paws. Worse, pets can become ill if they lick these chemicals off of their feet. Prevent these issues by rinsing and/or wiping your pet’s feet when they come in from being outdoors.

•       Similar to when it is hot outside, never leave your pet alone in a car during cold weather either. In the winter, a car holds in the cold like a refrigerator and your pet could potentially freeze to death.

•       Especially in the winter, when ice and snow can mask scents and pets can more easily lose their way, it is important that they always wear identification tags.

•       Much like humans, damp and cold weather can aggravate symptoms associated with arthritis in dogs and cats. If your pet is having trouble getting up or laying down, walking the stairs, or has started to cry when being picked up, a visit to the veterinarian is in order. Never medicate your dog or cat with human prescriptions or over-the-counter medications without consulting your veterinarian first. Most of them are toxic for pets; numerous arthritis treatments are available for them. Also, your dog or cat deserves a comfortable bed. Several pet stores carry safe heated floor mats or non-electric warm bedding.

•       Outdoors on cold days, animals may seek shelter near something warm like a car engine. If an animal is near the engine when the car is started, serious injury can occur.

•       If you have a garage, starting a car to warm it up in the garage will trap carbon monoxide. It can only take a few minutes for a small pet to die in a sealed garage with a car running.

•       Ponds are hazardous for pets in winter as the ice covering them may not be solid. There may be thicker ice at the shoreline, but it may be too thin to hold up a pet or person further out. Keep pets and people away from such dangers. If they do fall in, call for help quickly! Unfortunately, people trying to rescue their best friends can endanger themselves as well.