Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Pet care protocol changes for chilly days

Cold weather and the changes it brings could pose serious health risks to pets that all owners should know about, according to a local veterinarian. 
Dr. Mercedes Carota of the West Side Pet Clinic advised to not leave pets in the car for any period of time during the winter.
“Cars tend to trap cold inside, acting like a refrigerator,” she said, adding that how long a dog can withstand outdoor temperatures on a regular basis varies.
“It depends on the breed of dog, their adaptation to outside weather and physical status,” Carota said. “For example, a Chihuahua can spend far less time outside than a husky can. Also, don’t shave your dogs down in the winter. A longer coat provides some warmth to animals.” 
She also warned that road salt can damage a dog’s skin and paw pads. 
“Make sure to wipe off your dog’s paws with a warm washcloth when they come inside after a walk,” she said. “The salt can be very irritating to sensitive paws.” 
Wiping off the dog's paws when he comes inside also ensures that the animal does not ingest any harsh chemicals that he may have been exposed to, she said. Antifreeze is one of the most harmful to animals. 
“Antifreeze tastes sweet and is lethal,” Carota said.
She suggested keeping walks shorter for smaller breeds of dogs, and gave other options for keeping pets active, such as taking the dog to daycare or increasing the amount of playtime at home to combat the winter blues. By Andrea Chevalier and Lucy Lopez