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Winter Care Tips for Your Dog or Cat

Winters here in Iowa aren’t known for being mild. It’s very important for you to keep your dog or cat’s safety in mind this time of year! As your Marion, IA vet, I’m here to help. Here are a few tips for helping your pet stay comfortable and safe as winter rolls on.

Keep Pet Indoors

The easiest way to make sure your pet stays warm this winter is by keeping them indoors. Never leave your pet outside for extended periods of time during the coldest months of the year—you’re only inviting frostbite and hypothermia. Instead, bring your pet inside where they’ll be happy with you and your family. Only take your pet outdoors for bathroom breaks or quick walks.

Wipe After Walks

Did you know that ice melt is typically made with sodium chloride—also known as salt—and that it’s very toxic to animals? Ingesting too much salt can lead to serious poisoning in both cats and dogs! That’s why it’s best to avoid any ice patches or other areas where ice melt may have been applied. As an extra precaution, use a soft towel to wipe down your animal companion’s limbs and paws every time that they come back indoors from a walk or play session.

Beware of Winter Toxins

Antifreeze is often used in the wintertime to keep our cars’ engines running. Unfortunately, most antifreeze products are made with ethylene glycol, an alcoholic substance that is toxic to pets. Even worse, antifreeze has a sweet smell and taste that may attract a pet! Use antifreeze with caution, and store it in an area where pets can’t reach.

There are plants and flowers that you may have inside your home that could harm a pet during the winter. Holly and mistletoe leftover from the holiday season can prove dangerous, and lilies are particularly toxic to our feline friends. To be safe, keep your pet far away from any and all plant life.

Try Pet Clothing

When your pet does have to venture outdoors, it may be prudent to dress them up in some warm winter clothing. There are parkas, jackets, booties, earmuffs, and much more available for pets! Ask your vet what kind of winter clothing your pet might benefit from—your pet will thank you.

Want to learn about other great ways to keep your pet safe this winter? Call me, your Marion, IA veterinarian.

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