Punxsutawney Phil predicted an early spring this year, but we still have a few more weeks of winter to endure. The cold weather is just as hard on pets as it is on people. Here are some tips to keep your four-legged family members warm and snuggly-safe until spring is officially here.
Warm up on walks
If you brave the cold for daily walks, there are a few risks to keep in mind. According to The Humane Society, wind chill can be dangerous, no matter what the temperature is. Pets can be at risk for frostbite and hypothermia during extreme cold snaps like we’ve seen this winter. Exposed skin on noses, ears and paw pads can quickly freeze and cause permanent damage.
You can keep your pet warm with a sweater or coat to protect their skin from the elements, and booties or paw gel will help keep sensitive paws from freezing. If you’d rather not risk a slippery walk outside, try exercising your furry friend at an indoor dog park or doggy daycare.
Use road salt smarts
The salt used to de-slick an icy road can be toxic to pets, often irritating the pads of their feet. What’s more are coolants and antifreeze that drip from cars, making an easy transfer to sensitive paws. Be sure to wipe down paws with a damp towel when you get home before he or she has a chance to lick them.
Please don’t keep your pet outside for long periods of time. If your pet must stay outdoors, there are a few ways to make their shelter safe and comfortable.
The Humane Society suggests that the floor of the shelter be raised a few inches off the ground and covered with cedar shavings or straw. The shelter's doorway should be positioned away from the wind and be covered with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic.
The American Veterinary Medical Association urges owners to provide unlimited access to fresh water. Change the water frequently to avoid freezing, or use a heated water bowl. Ultimately, though, it’s best to provide warm, dry shelter indoors for your pets in the winter months.
Stay cautious on the road
Taking Fido for a car ride? If so, review how to keep your pet safe in your car before pulling out of the driveway and onto potentially icy or slushy roads. Pet carriers, car seats and back seat barriers are perfect for additional safety as you drive, especially in the event of an accident or sudden stop.
Also consider pet injury coverage. Erie Insurance automatically covers dogs and/or cats if they are injured in your vehicle during an accident.
Not sure if your furry family member is covered? Talk to a local Erie Insurance agent to learn more about coverage that protects you as well as your furry friends.