Winter holds hazards for pets

Winter is coming, and dogs will enjoy the crisp fresh days, snow flurries and long, muddy walks. But winter does hold its hazards for our pets. For example, antifreeze is poisonous to dogs and cats and can affect the brain, liver and kidney. Even a small amount can kill.

Ethylene glycol is the organic compound used in anti-freeze which is used in car engines to prevent freezing and overheating. Unfortunately, it can taste sweet so pets may ingest large quantities before they feel any nasty effects.

Ethylene glycol is the organic compound used in anti-freeze which is used in car engines to prevent freezing and overheating. Unfortunately, it can taste sweet so pets may ingest large quantities before they feel any nasty effects.

Antifreeze poisoning happens most often when a pet licks up the liquid which has spilled from a car radiator, so make sure that you wash away any leaks after working on your own vehicle.Symptoms of antifreeze poisoning include drunken behaviour, nausea, excessive urination and diarrhoea. Take your pet to the Vet straight away if your pet is having trouble breathing, or showing signs of serious distress.

Rock salt which is spread on the road to prevent skidding in icy conditions, can also cause sickness in pets.

Rock salt poisoning can also lead to convulsions and kidney damage if ingested by your pet. Rock salt is a mixture of grit and sodium chloride and is used to de-ice roads in winter. Pets often become ill after licking their paws or fur after a walk outside. Always wash your pet’s feet after being outside in snowy conditions where rock salt has been spread. Some dogs wear booties in the winter which also prevent their paws being damaged by hard snow and ice.

Always wash your pet’s feet after being outside in snowy conditions where rock salt has been spread. Some dogs wear booties in the winter which also prevent their paws being damaged by hard snow and ice.

If your pet is showing signs of discomfort following rock salt ingestion, take it to the vet where treatment can be given to rehydrate the animal and stablise sodium levels.

Just like humans, dogs can get flu and colds – they suffer from a cough and runny nose too and can be very obviously down in the dumps. Plenty of liquids, rest and warmth should help your dog recover quickly. If your dog is very lethargic, having difficulty breathing and not improving, go to your Vet for a check up.

The problem of chapped lips occurs every winter for animals and their owners. I know that some people swear by adding a teaspoon of coconut oil to dog’s food, there is also natural dog lip balm! Owners should not be tempted to use Vaseline on their dogs as this is harmful to pets.

Eye infections can initially be treated with sterile saline – but will probably need antibiotics from the Vet to ensure that the infection is cleared.

When it is really cold it may not be sensible to take pets outside – there are other ways of playing games with them inside to exercise their brains and limbs. Smaller dogs may find it difficult to stay warm when temperatures plunge as their have a greater surface area to body mas ratio. Different breeds of dog, and also how you choose to clip your dog, can make a difference to how well their respond to the cold.

Christmas time is also a mixed blessing for pets of all kinds. Chocolate can be lethal to dogs, and sweet treats, loud noises and excitable children can all add up to stressed, unwell pets. Think about keeping a quiet space where your pet can retreat, and keep confectionery, snacks and crisps off the floor and out of reach.

To learn more about first aid courses for your pets visit First Aid for Pets

Emma Hammett

Emma Hammett

Emma Hammett is an experienced nurse and first aid trainer, she has worked in many areas including A&E, Children’s Ward, Burns Unit and Acute medical and surgical wards before becoming hospital manager of Hammersmith and Charing Cross Hospitals. In 2007, she founded First Aid for Life and is shortly going to publish her second book, Burns, Falls and Emergency Calls – The ultimate guide to the prevention and treatment of childhood accidents.
Emma is also the founder of First Aid for Pets offering first aid training courses for your pets https://firstaidforpets.net/
Emma Hammett

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