Local News

December 27, 2013

Keep pets safe in winter weather

PLATTSBURGH — Cold weather can bring special hazards to pets, indoors or outside.

Here are some tips on keeping cats, dogs and other pets safe in winter from Kim Salerno, president and founder of 

Some winter products are toxic, she says:

▶ Anti-freeze: Automotive antifreeze is highly toxic, as it contains ethylene glycol, a powerful toxin that can quickly damage an animal’s kidneys. Even a single lick can be hazardous, and, unfortunately, it has a smell and flavor that pets may find appealing. Ingesting any anti-freeze poses a life-threatening emergency, so the dog or cat should be taken immediately to the vet.

▶ Windshield cleaner: While it is less toxic than antifreeze, it is still a serious threat. Most types contain methanol, which can cause severe nervous-system depression in pets. Symptoms include drooling, vomiting and instability.

▶ Ice-melt products: These products can cause everything from gastrointestinal-tract irritation to depression, weakness, seizures and cardiac problems in animals. Even if a pet doesn’t eat it, paws can be irritated from walking on treated areas that have dried out..

There are pet-safe ice-melt products but keep in mind that sidewalks elsewhere where your dog or cat may travel may have been treated with a form that isn’t good for animals. It is advisable to wash and dry off a dog’s paws and belly after a walk. Boots for pups can prevent some irritation, but it’s hard to find a version that actually stays on. One preventative measure is to coat a dog’s feet with pet paw wax.


Inside, Salerno says, keep in mind that heat sources such as space heaters, heat lamps and fireplaces can cause risk to a pet’s safety.

Dogs and cats enjoy curling up in warm places, so keep an eye out for hazards — keep fluffy tails away from heat lamps and space heaters and use a safety screen or glass to protect your pet from open flames of a fireplace.

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