5 Common Winter Pet Emergencies

Winter in Greenfield, WI, can bring a unique set of challenges to pet owners. Cold temperatures, ice, and snow can all pose significant safety risks to our pets. In this blog, we’ll explore five common winter pet emergencies and discuss how Frontier Veterinary Urgent Care can help. Remember, we’re here to help with any urgent health concerns you have for your pet. Just call us at (262) 226-2055 for assistance! 

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Frostbite and Hypothermia: Cold Weather’s Silent Threats 

Frostbite and hypothermia are some of the biggest threats our pets can face during the winter season. A fur coat is not sufficient protection for most dogs and cats.  

Identifying Frostbite and Hypothermia 

Pets are just as susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia as humans. These conditions occur when pets are exposed to cold temperatures for an extended period. Signs of frostbite and hypothermia include shivering, pale or blue/grey skin, and lethargy. While prevention of both these issues is key, recognizing the symptoms early can save your pet’s life or at the very least, save them from an uncomfortable and unpleasant experience.  

Preventing Frostbite and Hypothermia 

Limiting your pet’s exposure to freezing and sub-freezing temperatures is vital. Make sure your pet has a warm and sheltered area to retreat to if they need to be outdoors for any reason, and consider adding extra insulation to their bedding during the winter months. Ideally, of course,  you should simply limit your pet’s time outside and keep them inside with you where it’s warm and cozy.  

If your pet must remain outside for extended periods, it is recommended to avoid textile materials such as blankets. If these materials become wet or soiled, your pet can freeze adhered to them. Alternatively, it is recommended that you utilize straw material to aid in the insulation of their homes. 

The Hidden Danger of Antifreeze Poisoning 

Antifreeze poisoning is a common, yet often overlooked, winter hazard for pets. The sweet scent and taste of antifreeze can be attractive to animals, often leading to accidental ingestion.  Ingestion of antifreeze can cause kidney failure and, in many cases, death. Be sure to store your antifreeze containers securely and clean up any spills immediately. If you think your pet has ingested antifreeze, contact Frontier Veterinary Urgent Care at (262) 226-2055 right away. 

Dry Skin and Paw Care in Winter 

The harsh winter air can dry out your pet’s skin and paws, leading to cracking of the skin and daily discomfort. Regular grooming can help you maintain your pet’s skin and coat health.  Additionally, you can try using pet-safe moisturizers to treat and prevent dry, cracked skin.  Always check your pet’s paws for cracks or wounds, especially after walks, and contact our urgent care animal hospital if your pet needs professional treatment.  

Slips and Falls on Ice: A Winter Risk 

Icy conditions can increase the risk of slips, falls, and injuries for pets, especially for older animals or those with chronic mobility issues. Using pet-safe ice melts can help to prevent these accidents. Be vigilant on walks with your dog and skirt around icy patches as much as possible. 

Salt and Ice Melt Toxicity 

Rock salt and ice melt can also be hazardous to pets in winter. The chemicals they contain might irritate your pet’s skin or cause toxicity if ingested. Should your pet ingest these chemicals, they might develop gastrointestinal upset or more severe health issues if a large quantity is ingested. Symptoms of salt and ice melt toxicity include vomiting, diarrhea, and excessive thirst. 

Safeguarding Against Salt and Ice Melt Toxicity 

To protect your pets, use pet-safe ice melts and wash their paws after outdoor walks. This helps to remove any harmful residues and prevent your pet from ingesting these toxins if they lick their paws.  

When to Seek Veterinary Help 

Winter in Greenfield, WI, can be a beautiful but challenging time for pet owners. By being aware of these common winter pet emergencies and taking proactive steps, you can ensure your pets remain safe and healthy.  

Recognizing when a winter-related issue requires professional care is crucial for your pet’s health. If you observe any concerning symptoms, such as prolonged shivering, weakness, 

disorientation, vomiting, or listlessness, contact Frontier Veterinary Urgent Care immediately at (262) 226-2055. Early intervention can prevent more severe health complications! We’re here to support you and your pet through the winter season and beyond.