7 Pet Safety Tips for Cold Weather

cold safety albuquerque vet

It has been COLD this winter! Can you believe how much snow we have had. It has been a winter wonderland. The mountains looks so pretty covered in snow. But there are dangers to your pets when it is cold like this.

  1. Keep pets indoors
    When it is cold outside, keep your pet inside. You still need to take them out for walks and exercise, but keeping them inside in the warmth will keep them safe from temperature swings.
  2. Avoid strong cold wind
    Wind chill can make cold weather even colder. It can even threaten your pets life! So follow guideline #1 and keep your pet indoors. When you take them on short walks, and out for exercise, consider putting them in a sweater or coat. The skin on their nose, ears and paw pads can freeze quickly and make them at risk for frostbite and hypothermia. If you are concerned about frostbite or hypothermia, make sure to contact your vet immediately.
  3. Outside Precautions
    If your pet spends a lot of time outside, take some precautions to keep them safe.  Make sure to give them somewhere dry and draft free to retire. This way if they need a break from the wind and cold, they have a place to go. We suggest a structure a few inches off the ground to ensure that water stays out. You can add straw or cedar shavings to keep it dry and add some extra insulation.  It is also a good idea to cover the opening to the structure with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic, to keep the elements out.
  4. Warm Water
    Make sure your pets have access to warm water. When water is left outside it can get cold or even freeze. This can cause stomach issues or other complications if your pet is on the verge of hypothermia. You can get heated water bowls that will keep their water warm. Make sure to use plastic water bowls so if it is below freezing your pet’s tongue won’t freeze to the bowl.
  5. Lots of Food
    Keeping warm saps your pet’s energy. If your pet spends a lot of time outside, make sure to give them a little extra food. They will need a little extra energy this time of year.
  6. Cats under your car
    Keep an eye out for cats and other wildlife under, or even inside, your car. They are attracted to the warmth of the engine block and will sometimes sleep under your car or hood. Bang on your car’s hood to scare them away before starting your engine.
  7. Salt Safe
    Salt is used to melt ice and snow on walkways, but it is bad on your pet’s paws. After going on walks or exercise, wipe off your pet’s pads with a warm wet cloth to clean off any ice or de-icer chemicals. You want to make sure they don’t lick their paws and ingest any of it, as that can make them sick. The salt and de-icer chemicals can also irritate your pet’s pads or inside of their mouth. You can also get booties to put on their feet if they spend a lot of time outside. This will protect them from the cold and salt.

Is A Drunk Pet Funny?

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You have probably seen the Youtube videos of drunk dogs and had a good laugh. A drunk dog is no barking matter. No matter how tempted you are to give your dog just a little taste of your beer – DONT. Most dogs will not turn their nose up to alcohol, but the fact is, it can be very dangerous to ingest. A dog’s body is not able to process the ethanol in alcoholic beverages, so it’s important that you never give your dog alcohol on purpose, and should it happen accidentally, you should seek veterinary help immediately.

Just like us humans, when a dog or cat is exposed to alcohol, it causes depression of their central nervous system, slowing them down, so they become drowsy and loses their coordination. If they’re exposed to higher levels of alcohol, it can depress their nervous system to the point that their breathing and heart rate slow down, and their body temperature drops. Their blood chemistry is also altered, leading to a dangerous condition called metabolic acidosis where the blood becomes too acidic. At this point, without treatment, death soon follows usually due to cardiac arrest. Even if a dog or cat doesn’t die from the acute effects of alcohol poisoning, it can be harmful to their kidneys and liver.

Symptoms of alcohol poisoning:

It can take several hours after ingestion for symptoms of poisoning to occur. Even if your dog appears fine at first, watch for these signs and contact a vet immediately if you notice them:

-Slow or uncoordinated movements or weakness

-Fainting

-Vomiting (which may contain blood if the dog has ingested a large amount of alcohol and it burns through the stomach lining)

-Panting or difficulty breathing

-Lethargy

-Painful abdominal area

-Dehydration or excessive water drinking

-Problems urinating

-Diarrhea

-Seizures

-Foaming at the mouth

-Coma

Treatment:

Alcohol poisoning in dogs is treated in much the same way as any other toxic substance. The vet will run tests to determine the amount of ethanol in the dog’s bloodstream and then give activated charcoal to absorb as much of the alcohol as possible before it enters the bloodstream. The vet may also pump or flush the stomach to remove the toxic substance. Alcohol consumption causes quick and severe dehydration, so the vet will also administer fluids through IV to speed recovery.

Prevention:

The best way to avoid the dangers of alcohol poisoning in your pet is to prevent your dog from consuming it in the first place! Never give it on purpose and if you are hosting a party, make sure all cups and bottles are out of reach if your pets are part of the festivities, better yet confine them to an area where guests and drinks are inaccessible. Clean up any spills as quickly as possible so it won’t get lapped up off the floor.

Even if you don’t give your pet’s alcoholic drinks and keep them away while hosting a party alcohol can still be found in some surprising places! Such as rum-soaked fruitcake, unbaked dough containing yeast and other fermented foods.

If you think your dog has ingested alcohol, and is sick, make sure to call your vet immediately.

21 Reasons to Use Coconut Oil on Your Pets

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Did you know that you can save yourself a lot of money in veterinary bills by some simple home remedies. You have probably heard all the benefits of using coconut oil for yourself, but did you know that it is good for your pet too!

Eat it!

  1. If your pet is on antibiotics, taking it can help protect their liver.
  2. Reduces hairballs
  3. Reduces risk of cancer
  4. Helps digestion
  5. Energy boosting
  6. Boosts metabolism
  7. Gives your pet a shiny coat
  8. Coconut oil with a drop of oregano oil improves gum health
  9. Can help improve insulin levels if your pet is diabetic
  10. Supports a healthy thyroid
  11. Increases absorption of calcium and magnesium
  12. Can help with allergy symptoms
  13. Speeds weight loss

Touch it!

  1. Good moisturizer for paws, nose and ears
  2. Use as a sunblock
  3. Kills yeast topically
  4. Helps skin heal faster
  5. Soothes psoriasis or eczema
  6. Naturally antibacterial
  7. Stimulates hair growth
  8. Speeds healing of fungal infections

Before giving coconut oil, or any supplement, to you pet, make sure to check with your Albuquerque veterinarian first. If you are using coconut oil to treat any medical conditions, make sure you New Mexico vet is aware of those issues and has approved the use of coconut oil as a remedy. Always bring your pet into the vet clinic if you have any veterinary health concerns.