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Winter Pet Safety Tips

Malachi loves the winter
Malachi loves the winter
Shellie Tull

As we know here in Detroit, winter is definitely upon us.  Our pets are part our families so we need to take extra caution to ensure their health and safety in these cold months.  Here are some tips to keep your pets and the neighborhood four-legged friends safe this winter.

  1. Keep cats inside!  Felines can very easily freeze and become trapped in car engines.  Cats tend to hide in engines to shelter themselves to sleep away from the weather and other animals.  Once the car is started they become trapped, often resulting in death.  It is a good practice to hit the hood of your car a couple times to wake up any sleeping kitty and give them a chance to escape.
  2. Never let you dog off its leash, especially on snow or ice.  A dog car easily lose its scent during a snow storm and become lost.  Also, make sure they are wearing their ID tags with proper contact information.
  3. Wipe off  your dog's legs and stomach when coming in from a walk.  Not only for the obvious reason of tracking water through your house either!  They can ingest salt and antifreeze from likcing themselves clean.  Be sure to check their paw pads too because they can bleed from encrusted ice.
  4. Never shave your dog down in the winter.  A long coat provides warmth no matter how much your vaccuum hates it.  If you have a short haired or toy dog then a coat should be warm to keep their stomachs warm and dry.
  5. Never leave your dog (or cat if they happen to like car rides) in the car in the winter.  A car acts like a refrigerator and keeps the cold air in and your best friend can freeze.
  6. Remember that engine coolant is a lethal poison.  Be sure to wipe up spills froom you vehicle.  If ingested it can result in death from respiratory failure.  If you log on to ASPCA's website they will be happy to send you a free pet safety pack with a handy magnet that displays a phone number to the Animal Control Poison Control Center.  The number is 888-426-4435.  They are available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.
  7. Be sure to have a warm place for your cat or dog to sleep up off the floor and away from the draft.  Unless of course you have Alaskan Malamutes like me, then, if you can bribe them to come in out of their snow bank they are bound to sleep at the draftiest part of the house in front of the door.  This helps with the heating bill.  Love those Mals!

We all know that Michigan winters can be long and brutal.  Pets are precious gifts and winter can be a dangerous time for them.  Don't assume if you see an animal on our road that it is a stray.  It could be the best friend of someone else who has lost their scent in the snow and desperately wants to get home to their family.  Treat them how you would want someone to treat your lost pet if they found them.

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