Winter hazards for pets: what to look out for

Winter hazards are everywhere; from plummeting temperatures to heating appliances that may cause burns. Pet owners need to be vigilant, especially with sudden cold snaps.

Our friends at Rogz Pet Insurance have identified the following dangers for pet parents to watch out for:

1 Cold Temperatures. Pets can succumb to frost bite or hypothermia in cold weather especially if they are left outside for long periods of time. The lashing rain we experience in the Western Cape only exacerbates the risk. Watch out for the initial signs of hypothermia in dogs and cats such as paleness and intense shivering.
2 Car Engines. Few people would associate cars with winter hazards but some pets, especially cats, seek out warm spots such as under the hood of a car. Always check under the hood as well as under the car before starting the engine; you can also bang on the hood or use the hooter to ensure any pets hiding underneath are able to escape safely.
3 Antifreeze. This liquid, used in car radiators, can be fatal to dogs and cats if consumed. Keep antifreeze safely stored away from pets, and always check for leaks or spills and ensure they are cleaned up immediately. Signs that your pet might have ingested antifreeze include drooling, vomiting and wobbly walking and stumbling. It is vital that you get your pet to your vet immediately if you suspect they might have ingested antifreeze.
4 Heating.  Always keep heaters and candles safely out of reach of pets as these can cause burns. If your pet’s bed is placed in front of an open wood fire, be vigilant about the potential for sparks igniting the bedding.
5 Lack of Exercise. During the cold winter months your pet might not get as much exercise as he did in summer. It is important to monitor his weight and food intake to stop him putting on weight over winter. Ask your vet or EberVet Vetshop for help in determining his winter diet.