Husky licking snowflake

Winter months can be long and brutal with dangerous temperatures and potential hazards, here are a few simple ways to ensure our beloved furry family members stay safe. While keeping your pet inside in extreme cold conditions is always a good idea, when taking your dog for a walk in the winter there are a few important concerns to be aware of. Here in the city of Philadelphia, we have a lot of neighbors who are using salts on sidewalks and driveways which contain things like sodium chloride and calcium chloride which can be damaging to paw pads, or toxic if ingested or licked. Salt can also get stuck in between paw pads and cause painful sores due to the chemicals, and we recommend that after walks you rinse paw pads with lukewarm water to ensure no salt is left behind, and dry thoroughly with a clean towel. Another option is to invest in dog booties which will create a protective barrier between paw pads and the ground, they are fairly inexpensive, and often have grips to help prevent any slipping and falling on ice. They are also great for the summertime when extreme heat occurs and is absorbed by concrete and tar, making paw pads hot and uncomfortable to walk on. Smaller breeds would also benefit from wearing a warm sweater or coat, and they will look adorable while doing so!

Cats that are used to being indoors all or most of the time are not protected with even a winter coat and should remain indoors as that is the best way to protect our fabulous felines. Cats who are regularly outdoors are at a higher risk for hypothermia even with growing a thicker winter coat and are not fully protected from the dangers of the cold. When a cat gets cold, blood tends to leave areas like the ears, nose, paws, and tail. This eventually causes blood to rush to vital organs such as kidneys, liver, and even the brain. This makes the skin more vulnerable to frostbite, which presents itself as pale to a greyish skin color. Hypothermia symptoms in both felines and canines can present as shivering, skin cold to the touch, weakness, difficulty breathing, lowered heart rate, or loss of consciousness. If any of these symptoms are noticed in your animal, we recommend you call our Northern Liberties office immediately, or your closest emergency hospital if we are unavailable.

Another potentially hazardous situation during the holiday season can be household decorations. Things such as tinsel, garland, ornaments, and present wrapping materials, if ingested these items can cause gastrointestinal obstructions. It is important to keep such things out of reach of our furry friends, to help ensure no emergency visits this holiday season! Holiday plants such as poinsettias, mistletoe, and holly are very beautiful, but are toxic to our pets. If any leaves or berries are consumed, it can cause things such as vomiting, diarrhea, and even difficulties breathing. Ingesting even a small amount of these toxic plants can cause complications to health, in the case that this occurs, we recommend you call our office so we can address your pet’s health and give them anything they may need. Another thing to watch out for is that your pets don’t try to drink any water from the Christmas tree stand, which can also contain harmful chemicals absorbed through water from the tree.

Holidays are time for enjoying the company of family and friend gatherings, which can cause an increase in foot traffic in and out of your home. While it may be enjoyable for your family, this may be something that causes stress to your animal, even if they are not typically anxious. This means that it is important for your pet to have an area in which they are comfortable, safe, and able to escape the excitement if needed.

We hope that this information finds you well, and helps provide safe tips for both your canine and feline companions during the winter and holiday season. Please find below information for our clinic, as well as a recommended emergency hospital near our location.

Indy Veterinary Care
917 N Front St, Philadelphia, PA, 19123

VSEC Emergency
1114 S Front St, Philadelphia, PA, 19147