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Top 5 Winter Hazards for Pets

Posted by Jennifer on December 12th, 2012

Keep your pets safe this winter! Learn more about the Top 5 Winter Hazards for your pets here…. Rock salt, antifreeze and mistletoe – oh my!  The holiday season brings many pleasures to our four-legged friends: family gatherings, big meals, special trips, and in many areas some chilly white fluffy stuff to frolic in.  However, many pet owners don’t realize that when the temperatures drop, the unexpected risks for pets rise. So we’ve teamed with celebrity veterinarian Dr. Patrick Mahaney, pet expert for PerezHilton.com’s TeddyHilton.com pet website, to uncover the Top Five Winter Hazards that can be life-threatening for pets!

Rock Salt:  If you live in a cold climate where winter brings snow and ice, then you’re familiar with our first hazard.  Rock salt, also called road salt, is sodium chloride mixed with other chemical additives and is used to keep sidewalks and roadways from being too slippery from ice.  While the mixture works well, it is very tough on our pets’ paws and can be extremely dangerous if ingested.  Other de-icing agents should also be avoided in areas where pets congregate.

Antifreeze:  Pets may be drawn to this popular engine coolant because it has a sweet taste, but this exceedingly toxic substance that contains ethylene glycol can be found anywhere vehicles drive or park, including streets, roadways, parking lots, or even your own driveway.  If ingested, this fluorescent green fluid can cause kidney failure or even death in pets, and since it’s used to control the freezing and boiling point of liquids, antifreeze is not exclusively a winter hazard, but also quite dangerous during the warmer months as well.

Heating Sources:  Pets may enjoy cozying up near the fireplace to bask in the warmth, but this activity is dangerous because of the exposure to flames and increased temperatures that can potentially burn their skin.  In addition, pet parents need to be extra cautious when exposing their furry friends to electric blankets and space heaters because these electrical items can become toxic or harmful.

Winter Plants:  Although they look pretty, many holiday plants can be poisonous to pets.  Mistletoe, Poinsettias, Holly and Christmas Cactus are all extremely toxic and can cause severe gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, and neurologic effects if ingested.  Christmas trees are also hazardous because not only are the pine needles poisonous, but also because of the bacteria and fertilizer harbored in the water stands (which pets are known to drink).  Additionally, decorations such as tinsel can also be very noxious if consumed.

Festive Foods:  Meats and sweets are treats that pets beg for, but are serious no no’s when it comes to your pet’s health.  Turkey and other holiday meats are very high in protein, but if meats in their natural form are not a regular part of their diet, they can be hard to digest, which can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, or inflammation of the pancreas.  Chocolate may be the best-known food danger for pets because it contains caffeine.  Dogs in particular do not metabolize these stimulants in their liver, and elevations in heart rate, blood pressure, or even seizures, coma, or death can occur.  Of course, all candy is high in sugar, which can cause digestive issues for all pets.
“During the holiday season, we want to ensure that everyone enjoys a fun and safe celebration, which includes taking a few extra precautions for your beloved pets,” remarked Dr. Patrick Mahaney.  “Just avoiding the hazardous elements that pose even a remote threat to your pets could make a huge difference in their health and wellness.”

Watch videos with celebrity veterinarian Dr. Patrick Mahaney explaining winter hazards for pets at adoptapet.com/winterhazards.

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