Winter and the cold weather also bring seasonal health risks for our pets. We hope the following cold weather safety reminders help you to enjoy the season!

Late fall and winter are also the time for holiday parties and get-togethers, but a lot of the foods we enjoy at this time of the year is dangerous to our four legged friends. Please refrain from feeding your pets, fatty foods such as turkey, ham, gravy or anything fried or other wise fatty. The pancreas of dogs and cats are very sensitive to fatty meals and could become dangerous or fatal for some pets. Obviously, some pets are more sensitive than others but just because you get away with it once doesn’t mean it won’t catch up to you.

When outdoor temperatures fall below 20 degrees Fahrenheit it is best to keep pets indoors, even if that means just the garage. Shorthaired dogs, cats and puppies should be kept indoors as much as possible when the temperature falls below 40 degrees.

Be aware of salt and other ice-melting chemicals on the streets and sidewalks. They are an irritant to your pet’s paws and may cause injury if ingested. Use a warm moist cloth to clean off any salt or chemical residues after a walk.

Pets need a supply of fresh water in order to burn calories and stay warm. If your pet relies on an outdoor water source, be sure it doesn’t freeze!

Christmas catastrophes such as ingestion of decorations can also turn into a rendezvous at veterinary clinic and an emergency surgery. So if your pets are showing too much interest in certain decorations make sure you move the decoration so it is unavailable to be chewed/swallowed/ or otherwise destroyed.

Check garages and driveways for antifreeze. Antifreeze tastes sweet to some pets and most brands are poisonous. Contact you veterinarian immediately if you suspect your pet has consumed antifreeze because it is a true animal emergency. Grooming is important; a matted coat will not protect your pet from the cold. Be watchful of ice or salt that may become entangled in long hair and remove it immediately.

Don’t let pets venture onto frozen bodies of water. In southern Oklahoma the ice will most likely be too thin to support its weight and water rescues are both difficult and dangerous for both you and your pet.

You might want to give the hood of your car a slap before starting it; cats often climb next to a warm engine during the night to stay warm.

Not generally a problem for southern Oklahoma but just in case, keep snowdrifts from piling up next to your fence because it could create a way for your dog to escape the fence.

Provide a dry, draft free doghouse if you must keep your dog outside for any period of time. It should be large enough so your dog can sit and lay down comfortably but small enough to hold his body heat. The floor should be off the ground and covered with cedar shavings or straw. It should be turned away from the wind, and the door should be covered with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic.

If you are flying with a pet, make sure the airline provides for your pet’s safety and warmth. Some airlines restrict pets from flying when the temperature dips below a certain point. Call ahead to your airline to confirm.