Veterinarians Provide Winter Safety Tips for Pets

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – As what is projected to be another potentially record-breaking winter approaches, doctors from BluePearl Veterinary Partners recommend taking certain precautions to ensure your pet doesn’t suffer from cold-temperature related injuries.

“Weather-related injuries are among the easiest to prevent,” said Dr. Mark Bercovitch, a board-certified internal medicine specialist with BluePearl Veterinary Partners in Tennessee. “By following these tips, people can help make sure their furry friends remain a little safer this winter.”

  • Similar to when it is hot outside, never leave your pet alone in a car during cold weather. In the winter, a car holds in the cold like a refrigerator and your pet could potentially freeze to death.
  • Dogs and cats get frostbite! Any dog or cat exposed to very cold temperatures for more than brief periods of time can develop frostbite.  If pets begin to shiver or their ears, tails or feet show signs of redness in the early stages, or pale, white patches of skin in more advanced cases of frostbite, bring them inside immediately.
  • Antifreeze is highly toxic to people and animals. Cats and dogs are attracted to its sweet smell and taste, and will often sample some if left out in a container or spilled on the garage floor. If you suspect that your pet has come into contact with antifreeze, contact your veterinarian immediately. The success of treatment to antifreeze exposure depends on quick action.
  • Much like humans, damp and cold weather can aggravate symptoms associated with arthritis in dogs and cats. If your pet is having trouble getting up or laying down, walking the stairs, or cries out when picked up, a visit to the veterinarian is in order. Never medicate your dog or cat with human prescriptions or over-the-counter medications without consulting your veterinarian first. Most of these are toxic to pets. Arthritis treatments specifically designed for pets are available. Arthritic dogs and cats, especially, need comfortable, warm beds. Several pet and feed stores carry safe heated floor mats or non-electric warm bedding.
  • Pets need to have fresh water at all times. If you leave water outside for your pets, be sure it  does not freeze.
  • Outdoors on cold days, animals may seek shelter near something warm like a car engine. If an animal is near the engine when the car is started, serious injury can occur.
  • Starting a car to warm it up in a garage will trap carbon monoxide. It can only take a few minutes for a small pet to die in a sealed garage with a car running.
  • During winter months, rodents are often attracted to the warmth of homes. Make sure poisons and rodenticides are out of reach of pets.

About BluePearl Veterinary Partners
BluePearl Veterinary Partners employs more than 1,600 people including more than 450 veterinarians. BluePearl hospitals offer referral-only, specialty care services and most offer 24-hour emergency care. BluePearl does not provide primary care. The company is one of the world’s principal providers of approved veterinary residency and internship programs. BluePearl also participates in clinical trials that investigate the effectiveness of new veterinary drugs and treatments, providing pet families access to cutting-edge medicine that is not yet commercially available. BluePearl is headquartered in Tampa, Fla.