Here are some suggestions to keep your pet comfy, cozy and healthy when the winter winds blow:
- If you own a shorthaired dog, provide the pet with a warm sweater for those cold winter walks. ·
- Keep your older pet’s bed raised slightly off the floor and away from drafts.
- Your pet may look for a warm resting place, so keep a fire screen around a fireplace hearth and a wood burning stove.
- Using metal water dishes outside in winter may be a risk, because your pet’s tongue could stick to the frozen metal and the water can easily freeze over. Consider a self-warming water dish.
- Space heaters pose a triple threat — your pet may chew the cord, burn itself on the heater, or knock it over and cause a fire.
- If your dog enjoys playing in the snow, take the normal precautions against frostbite and watch for cracked pads or tiny cuts in the feet.
- Don’t let your dog ride in the back of a pickup truck. Along with the potential of losing your dog in an accident, winter adds the possibility of frostbite.
- Road salt can burn your pet, so check the paws, mouth and belly after a walk. Use kitty litter instead of salt for driveways.
- Keep a towel or old throw rug by the door. Following outdoor activity, dry your pet’s chest, underbelly and feet.
- The outside dog must have a well-insulated dog house that has deep, clean bedding and is free from drafts.
Switch to a safer antifreeze
October — the hint of chill in the evening air reminds those of us who live in seasonal climates to prepare for winter weather’s worst.
And as we make our provident preparations, let’s not forget our cats and dogs.
Antifreeze poisoning in dogs and cats is a serious problem.
One step owners can take to prevent a potential tragedy from befalling their cats is to use a less-toxic propylene-glycol based antifreeze in the car. Most brands of commercial antifreeze consist of 95-percent ethylene glycol, an extremely toxic chemical.
Even a few licks of this sweet-tasting liquid can be fatal to a cat or dog. (Ethylene-glycol based antifreeze is also extremely hazardous to children. A few ounces are lethal).
Propylene glycol, on the other hand — although not entirely nontoxic — is considerably less toxic than ethylene glycol.
When you or a member of your household changes antifreeze in the driveway, be sure to collect all of the waste coolant and properly dispose of it.
And never leave a bucket of ethylene-glycol coolant unattended — even for a moment.
Also remember that your car can leak coolant at any time.
If you see a puddle of greenish-colored liquid in your driveway, flush the area with plenty of water and don’t delay locating and fixing the leak.
If your standard practice is to take the car to a mechanic for its winter preparations, be sure to ask specifically for a propylene-glycol based antifreeze. (But be prepared to pay a little more).
There are several nationally available propylene-glycol antifreezes on the market, including:
- Sierra (Safe Brands Corporation, 1-800-289-7234)
- Sta-Clean (Sta-Clean Products, 1-800-825-3464)
A number of regional companies also offer propylene-glycol antifreeze in regional markets or in bulk quantities.
ICE MELTS and SALTS-PET HAZARDS
The most common clinical signs are vomiting.
Other effects include diarrhea, salivation, depression, and loss of appetite, disorientation, increased thirst, seizures and even death.
Before initiating treatment for ice melt products, it is critical to know the ingredients and the animal’s health status.
Electrolyte levels should be taken to determine the possible toxin.
Inducing vomiting is controversial if the product contains large amounts of potassium chloride.
Activated charcoal does not absorb the salts in ice melts.
If an animal walks on or rolls through the product etc. bathe the pet and monitor it for skin irritation.
Also monitor and correct abnormalities in hydration status, electrolyte concentrations, and heart muscle activity.
There are many brands of de-icing products on the market.
The most common ingredients in these ice melts are sodium chloride, calcium carbonate, and calcium magnesium acetate.
A few ice melts contain urea.
Sodium toxicosis is possible after large ingestions of ice melts, salt, or rock salt.
A dose of 4grams per kilogram (2.2 pounds) of sodium chloride can be lethal in dogs.
Ingesting large amounts of sodium levels can be lethal in dogs.
Ingesting large amounts of sodium can lead to increased urination.
Large amounts of ingested sodium can also lead to swelling of the brain.
Also, the digestive upset along with the increased urination may lead to dehydration, further worsening the patient’s condition.
The clinical signs of sodium toxicity are primarily neuroligic.
The severity of the signs is related more to the suddenness of onset rather than the magnitude of signs.
Diagnosis of sodium toxicosis is based on serum concentrations and a history of sodium ingestion.
Treatment goals are to replace water and electrolytes. Diuretics may also be of some use. The fluid of choice is 5% dextrose IV.
The diuretic recommended is furosamide.
Signs associated with elevated potassium levels include muscle weakness, GI disturbances, and cardiac conduction disturbances.
Ingestion of potassium chloride tablets has caused bowel strictures and ulcerations.
Treatment includes administration of lactated ringers and furosamide.
Due to the irritating nature of potassium chloride-induction of vomiting is controversial. Activated charcoal does not bind potassium.
Elevated magnesium concentrations can cause low blood pressure and cardiac abnormalities, weakness, and neurological signs.
Treatment is symptomatic and supportive. Vomiting may reduce the amount of absorption if induced with in two hours of ingestion.
Calcium Carbonate and Calcium Magnesium Acetate
These products may cause vomiting and eye irritation. Treat gastric upset symptomatically.
This product is more toxic to ruminants (cows) the monogastric animals (dogs, cats, people). Ingestion if urea by dogs usually results in local irritant signs such as hyper salivation, GI signs of vomiting, and abdominal pain.
Treatment includes inducing vomiting and monitoring the animal.
Again-most of the danger comes from ingestion of the products