Within the next few days, the winter season will officially begin. Wintertime is the time of year when animals can become vulnerable to the weather. Central Veterinary Associates is offering pet owners tips on how to keep your pets safe and healthy this winter:
● Keep your cat inside. If cats are left unattended outdoors, they can freeze or become lost, stolen, injured or killed. Cats who are allowed to stray are exposed to infectious diseases — including rabies — from other cats, dogs and wildlife.
● Before getting into your car, bang loudly on the hood of the car before starting the engine. Outdoor cats like to sleep underneath cars. When the engine is started, the cat can be injured or killed by the fan belt.
● Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm. Dogs can lose their scent and easily become lost. More dogs are lost during the winter than any other season, so make sure that your dog always wears his identification tags.
● When your dog comes in from the snow, ice or sleet, be sure to wipe down his paws and his stomach thoroughly. Your dog may have rock salt, antifreeze and other potentially dangerous chemicals on its paws which, if ingested, can make them sick. In addition, their paw pads may also bleed from snow or encrusted ice.
● Never shave down your dog during the winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth. When bathing your dog, be sure to dry him off thoroughly before taking him out for a walk. If you have a short-haired breed, consider getting him a coat or a sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly.
● Never leave your pet alone in a car in cold weather. The inside of the car holds in the cold, causing the animal to freeze to death.
● If you have a puppy that may be sensitive to the cold, it may be difficult to housebreak your pet outside. Train him inside on old newspapers. If your dog is sensitive to the cold because of old age, illness or breed, take him out only to relieve himself.
● If your dog likes to spend a lot of time outdoors, increase his food supply, especially the amount of protein, to keep him and his fur in tip-top shape.
● If you spill any antifreeze, be sure to clean it up immediately. Pets are enticed by the sweet-tasting liquid, although it is poisonous to pets. Ingesting antifreeze leads to illness in dogs and even death. If possible, use products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol.
● Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafty areas. A cozy pet bed with a warm blanket or pillow is ideal.
“It is very important to keep your pet safe and healthy during the winter season,” said Dr. Aaron Vine, DVM, Vice President, Central Veterinary Associates. “The extreme cold may have an adverse effect on your pet’s health, so pet owners have to take the necessary precautions for their pets when taking them outside. In the event they become ill as a result of being exposed to the elements, please bring them to a veterinarian immediately. Here at Central Veterinary Associates, our animal hospital is open around the clock, and we guarantee that your pet will be seen the same day and given the highest standard of care and service.”
Central Veterinary Associates currently offers vaccinations against canine influenza and pet boarding services and provides emergency care in the event an animal becomes sick. The Valley Stream hospital is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. For more information, or to make an appointment, call (516) 825-3066 or visit www.centralvets.com.