Top 5 Winter Pet Health Hazards to Avoid in Rutland, VT

Snow, sleet, ice and freezing temperatures are all dangers attributed to winter in Rutland, but for pets there are other worrisome risks. From stray cats hiding under cars for warmth to toxic holiday plants, we’ll go over some of the most common winter health hazards that your pets need to steer clear of.

winter pet health hazards in Rutland, VT

Antifreeze Is a Deadly Poison for Pets

Otherwise known as ethylene glycol, antifreeze is used in vehicles to regulate their temperature in extreme heat or cold weather. It’s clear and, unfortunately, tastes sweet which entices animals to drink it. They may try it out of need, if their water bowls are frozen, or curiosity.

However, antifreeze is a deadly poison and, depending on the size of your pet and how much they’ve ingested, could be fatal. According to the United States Humane Society, an estimated 10,000 pets die annually from antifreeze ingestion. If you suspect your pet has been exposed to antifreeze, take them to your veterinarian immediately.

Pets Are More Prone to Hypothermia and Frostbite

When it’s very cold, your pet’s body will keep all blood from extremities in order to protect the vital organs – this means toes, ears and tails can be left without proper oxygenation which could lead to tissue death.

During the winter months in Vermont, people can expect to see average temperature highs between 30-40 degrees Fahrenheit. In temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s best to keep your pet’s time outdoors to a minimum, unless you have a winter-hardy breed such as an Alaskan Malamute that is meant to withstand cold weather for longer periods of time.

Salt and Other Ice Melts

Though we as humans put this substance out as a safety measure, exposure to the large amounts of sodium found in most ice melts can be very dangerous for our pets. Walking on ice melts can lead to cracked and irritated paws, and ingestion of it could be deadly.

There are plenty of pet friendly ice melts found on the market today that will help prevent your pet from sodium toxicity, and it is recommended that you wash your pet’s paws off when they come inside from a winter walk.

Car Engines and Cats

Stray and outdoor cats seek out ways to keep warm on cold winter nights. Unfortunately, a very common source of heat is car engines. Even if the vehicle is no longer running, residual heat from the engine can be enough to entice a kitty to take up residence for the night in the front wheel well of a car.

If you have an outdoor cat, it’s best to provide a warm spot for her in the garage or other shelter. And, if you live in an area with stray cats, make sure to check your wheel wells before starting up your car in the morning.

Lost and Found

In most cases, if your dog or cat wander away and get lost, they can find their way back home using their sense of smell. In the Rutland winters, however, snow and ice can cover up familiar scents and make it nearly impossible for them to find their way back to you. Be sure to keep collars on all outdoor cats and dogs with tags that identify them.

If your pet has been microchipped, make sure all the information attached to the chip is up to date.

Keep Your Pet Safe This Winter in Rutland, VT

Winter is hard on everyone, including your pets. Be sure to pay a little extra attention to them during the colder months so that they don’t fall victim to any of the above health hazards.

If any of these situations happens to your pet or any other emergency for that matter, we have you covered with exceptional veterinary care at Rutland Veterinary Clinic and Surgical Center. When in doubt, call us to see what your next steps should be as a pet owner.

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About Rutland Veterinary Clinic and Surgical Center

Rutland Veterinary Clinic and Surgical Center provides top-quality veterinary care to the Rutland, VT pet community.