Protecting your pets from the bitter cold

(Photo Courtesy: Center Hospital for Veterinary Medicine)

(WTNH) — They may be covered in fur but the cold and snow can create problems for your pets.

Some owners try to keep their pets safe by putting them in jackets or boots. Though that can help, veterinarians say it’s best just to limit their time outside.

It isn’t just the temperature that can be dangerous for animals. The chemicals used to make parking lots and sidewalks less slippery can get on your dog or cat and they can end up eating it.

“The problem is some of the signs that you will first see are none, and by the time you see signs that could be very serious,” said Julia Shakeri, Associate Emergency Clinician at Central Hospital for Veterinary Medicine. “So if they’ve eaten a lot of salt you can get salt toxicity.”

If you use an ice melt at your home be sure to get the kind that is pet friendly. It doesn’t contain salt, so it won’t harm your pets.

“When you get your pet home just wash the feet in maybe a warm wet washcloth or a little bowl of water,” said Shakeri.

Of course, the cold weather itself can also be dangerous for your furry friends. Though they still have to go outside, vets recommend limiting that time as much as possible.

“If you’re going to let your pets out to play always supervise,” said Shakeri. “The smaller the dog, the less time out.”

That also goes for leaving your pets in the car. You wouldn’t leave them in cars during the summertime, but experts leaving them behind when you run errands at this time of year is also a bad idea.

“Even if you think you’re just running in for a little while, you’re going to go to the local Costco, you might be in longer than you think,” said Shakeri. “You might have a sick pet when you get back out.”

Animals left outside can suffer from frostbite and can die. It’s illegal to leave pets outside when it’s this cold, and owners who do could face charges.