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Winter Care

Winter care for your pet can present many challenges. Often these challenges will be aspects of care not commonly thought of and considered.

Unless you have a pet that is especially designed and equipped for cold climates, the best option is to bring your pet inside during bitterly cold weather. In cold weather, even if the temperature is not bitterly cold, be aware of wind chills. Extremely low wind chills can do more and quicker damage, to your pet, than temperatures alone.

Pets who spend a lot of time outdoors, need more food in the winter. The reason for increased food is that keeping warm during winter, depletes energy quickly and adequate nutrition is required to replace this burned off energy. Routinely check your pet's water dish to ensure that the water is fresh and unfrozen. This check should be performed every 2 - 3 hours. Use plastic bowls and dishes instead of metal, as your pet's tongue can stick and freeze to metal when temperatures are extremely low.

Warm engines, in parked cars, attract cats and small wildlife, in cold weather. These animals may crawl up into the engine compartment, under the hood, and the warm haven can become a death trap for them. To avoid this potentially fatal situation, develop a good habit of banging on your car's hood as you pass by it, prior to entering the vehicle. This will provide a chance for the animal being scared and leaving the engine compartment prior to the enginne starting.

Salt and other ice-melting chemicals, used on roads, driveways and walkways, can be very irritating to your pet's paw pads and even their mouth, if licked. Keep this in mind and use these chemicals sparingly and only as necessary.

Anti freeze is a DEADLY poison. However, it does have a very sweet smell and taste that may attract animals and children. To avoid potentially deadly situations, wipe up any spills immmediately and store all antifreeze out of the reach of animals and children. An even better option is to use antifreeze made with Propylene Glycol, and not antifreeze made with Ethyl Glycol. Propylene Glycol antifreeze will not harm your family, pets, and wildlife if there is an accidental minute ingestation.

One of your best defenses against winter weather hazards, is your diligent, frequent observation of your pet and its surroundings. Pay attention and react swiftly to any potentially harmful situation that may arise.
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