Residents of Bowie are all too familiar with the hazards and perils of the cold temperatures that bring snow, ice, and bitter wind. The harrowing cold of winter makes the safety of our family members a top priority in the winter months, and that includes our best fur pals, too. 

Review Highway Veterinary Hospital’s winter pet safety tips to keep your pet healthy and safe until the first signs of spring. 

Brighten Up The Night

If you’re walking your dog in the early morning or evening, consider a reflective harness, collar, and leash so that motorists have an easier time spotting her. You may also want to invest in a dog coat, sweater, or booties to protect your pet and keep her warm and dry when out and about. 

Creature Comforts

Many pets, especially seniors, puppies and kittens, and arthritic or sick pets can have low tolerance for temperature extremes. Provide a warm, soft place for them to rest, or double up on the blankets. Outdoor pets need shelter from the cold and wind, too – fur is simply not enough to protect them from hypothermia and frostbite. Always bring your pets inside when temps drop, and consider setting up weather-proof shelters in your yard (complete with access to fresh water) for lost or stray pets needing emergency shelter.

Safe Haven?

Outdoor cats often shelter inside car hoods next to warm engines. And even though the fading heat from an engine may not seem like a lot, it’s better than nothing for cats left outdoors. Tap the hood of your car or honk your horn before starting your engine to alert them it is time to move. If you notice stray or feral cats in your neighborhood, you may also kindly decide to provide a simple DIY outdoor cat shelter.

Winter Pet Toxins

Winter pet safety means keeping your pet away from toxic substances. Rock salt, also known as ice melt, is popular for slippery slopes and steps, but it can cause painful problems for your pet. 

The minerals in rock salt are also very harsh on pets’ sensitive paw pads, and can cause dryness, cracking, and irritation. Pets are also inclined to lick it off their feet and bellies, and this can cause GI upset, tremors, disorientation, and even death.

To prevent problems with rock salt, always wash and dry your pet’s feet and belly/chest if a small dog after walks or outdoor time. Additionally, try and steer your pet away from areas that have been heavily treated with ice melts and salts. Anything we use at our hospital is pet safe!

Antifreeze is another lethal winter chemical. Keep bottles of antifreeze well out of pets’ reach, and clean up any spills immediately. Don’t let your pet drink from puddles on the ground when out walking. 

If you suspect your pet has been exposed to any winter chemicals, please call us immediately. 

Freezing temperatures present unique challenges, and require preparation and planning. If you have any questions or concerns about winter pet safety, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team.