A local veterinarian outlined the most prevalent winter pet threats

Cold weather brings its own set of stresses for pets. Pets need undivided attention, especially during colder temperatures. Preparing now will keep your pet safe during the cold weather. Here are the most common winter concerns for your pets.

Risk Of Hypothermia

  • Just like humans, animals can suffer from hypothermia and frostbite when left outside for too long. Take pets outside for walks but as soon as the temperature falls, bring them inside. Shorthaired pets are especially vulnerable to cold and may need a sweater or jacket.

If your pet is weak, shivering, or has trouble breathing, take temperature right away. If the temperature is below the normal level, raise the body temperature at home.

Raising Your Pet’s Body Temperature

  • 101.5 degrees is the normal body temperature of cats and dogs. If it drops below this level, cover your pet with a blanket, wrap a bottle of hot water in a towel and place it near your pet’s stomach. It is advisable to check the temperature every 10 minutes. Give them extra food to compensate for the extra calories that are burnt due to the cold.

Exposure To Antifreeze

  • Antifreeze is a chemical used for lowering the freezing point of water-based liquids. It is typically used in the radiators of cars and other vehicles. The substance smells and tastes appealing to pets. So they may be tempted to lick any spills or leaks.

Antifreeze is poisonous to cats and dogs. When ingested it can give rise to serious health issues. So it is essential to clean these spills and leaks so that your pet doesn’t lick them up and get sick.

Antifreeze Poisoning

  • In instances where your pet has been exposed to antifreeze, take him to the vet right away.

Signs of antifreeze poisoning include:

  • Disorientation
  • Loss of coordination
  • Vomiting
  • Grogginess

If left untreated it could lead to coma.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

  • Carbon monoxide is an odorless gas emitted by unventilated furnaces, water heaters, car exhausts, generators, and fires. It is poisonous to both humans and animals. If your car is running, it is better to keep the pets out of the garage. In addition, ensure that they stay away from gas water heaters, fires, and smoky areas.

If in an unfortunate event, your pet gets exposed to carbon monoxide, immediately head to your vet. It is advisable to install carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home. This will keep your family and pet safe.

Ice-Melting Salt

  • winter pet threatsIce salts are used for clearing a frozen or snowy path. Sodium chloride or calcium chloride is the main ingredient in these salts. Ice-melting salts can irritate your pet’s paws and prove fatal when ingested. Socks or boots can help protect your pet from these chemical-based ice-melting products.

Throw the socks in the washer after walks. If your pet is not comfortable wearing socks or boots, make sure you clean their paws after a walk in the snow. If your pet starts vomiting, salivating, or suffers from weakness or diarrhea after a walk, contact your veterinarian right away. Your pet may have ingested some of the salt.


  • Some pets are attracted to the bait’s ingredients and may eat or lick them. The poison used in the bait can cause nerve cell damage or harm your pet’s cardiovascular system. If you use poison to get rid of rodents, use tamper-resistant bait stations only.

If your pet has inhaled or ingested a harmful substance, call us at 434-971-9800. Autumn Trails and Veterinary Center offers the most convenient and comprehensive care for your pets. We offer regular checkups, dental care, and urgent care services for all pets. We are located in Charlottesville, VA.