Cincinnatians, if you have lived here over a year, you have been preparing for nights like this where the temperature dips into single digits. More than likely, you’ve put anti-freeze in the car, sealed the windows and dug out coats and gloves for the kids, but have you left your best friend “Out in the Cold?” Every winter farmers and many other animal owners work hard to keep their pets and livestock safe from the elements. On the bitterest of nights they can be found breaking the ice in water troughs, feeding their animals and making them as safe from the elements as possible before they’ve gone in to have their own supper.
Caring for pets is important whether your herd numbers one or a thousand. Once we call a pet ours, we are responsible for it, and it depends on us. A rabbit in a cage cannot break ice, feed itself or block the snow from drifting into its’ cage. A freezing child (or adult) dashing out to feed the dog after supper may not think to check to see if the water bucket is frozen. Taking a second to discuss changing care needs in changing weather may save your animal’s life.
Though actually starving to death, dying from dehydration or freezing to death are the worst things that can happen to our pets in the winter, they are not the only danger they are up against. Animals too can suffer from painful frost-related injuries and skin conditions. Some of these may require veterinary treatment and/or result in permanent damage. Salt thrown about to keep us from slipping can also be a problem for our animals. Remember to keep your pet’s pads and paws clean and dry.
Lastly, please take proper precautions in handling anti-freeze. In this excerpt from the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine Pet Health Topics Antifreeze Poisoning article, you will see that just a little anti-freeze could put an end to your best friend:
“As winter approaches, many people will “winterize” their automobiles, including a change of antifreeze. Take care to keep both new and used antifreeze in a sealed container, out of reach of pets. Clean up any spills of antifreeze on driveways and other hard surfaces. Dogs and cats find antifreeze quite tasty and if they find antifreeze they’ll drink it. Antifreeze is extremely toxic causing kidney failure that is often fatal in just a few days.
Very small amounts of antifreeze can be fatal. If a cat walks through a puddle of antifreeze and then licks its paws, it can ingest enough antifreeze to cause death. About five tablespoons can kill a medium-sized dog. If you see your pet drinking antifreeze, or are at all suspicious that your pet may have had access to antifreeze, contact a veterinarian immediately.
PREVENT ANTIFREEZE POISONING
- keep new and used antifreeze in a sealed, leak proof container
- take used antifreeze to a service station for disposal – don’t pour it on the ground
- check driveways for puddles of antifreeze that may have leaked from the car
- consider the use of alternative antifreeze products that are less toxic to pets
- if antifreeze is placed in toilets make sure the lid is down and the door to the room is closed “1
For signs of Anti-freeze poisoning or to view the complete article please visit the website below:
1. Antifreeze Poisoning.” College of Veterinary Medicine at Washington State University. 22 July 2009. Web. 11 Jan. 2010. Cliented/antifreeze.aspx>.
And Everyone: Let’s be Careful with our Animals out there!