Winter Safety Tips and #BettyWhiteChallenge

In researching current news to write about in this space, I came across a post that was meant for the holidays but gives some really good information that is important for pet owners to know all the time. I hope the North Central Veterinary Emergency Center of Indiana won’t mind my sharing.

Some things that are toxic to pets:  chocolate, fatty foods (butter, turkey and chicken skin, etc.), grapes and raisins, onions and garlic, sugar-free candy and gum (that contains Xylitol), yeast dough, alcohol, marijuana, over-the-counter and prescription drugs. Should your pet accidently consume any of these, you will want to contact your vet or an emergency clinic with the following:  pet’s age and weight, what was consumed, how much, when consumed, brand name if available, and for meds, the dosage. Of course, the best way to prevent accidental consumption is to keep all of these out of the reach of pets, just as we do with children. Remember, when it comes to pets and kids, we sometimes have to do their thinking for them.

With the frigid temperatures of January settling in, it doesn’t hurt to review the safety cautions that accompany winter. Things like making sure pets’ paws don’t come into contact with road salt but if they do, to wipe them off when they get home so they can’t lick it off. Rubbing Vaseline or paw protectant into paws before you walk can help protect them from the cold and salt. Use pet-friendly ice melts in your own driveway or yard. Clean up any antifreeze spills (antifreeze is deadly) immediately and try to use one containing propylene glycol instead of the more toxic ethylene glycol. Be aware cats will often seek shelter inside a car’s engine. Outside pets need access to warm, dry shelter and fresh water. They may also need to consume more calories in the cold. (Check with your vet about this.) All pets should come inside when temperatures drop into the freezing digits. As you don’t want to leave a pet inside a car in the heat of summer, consider how cold it will get inside your vehicle before leaving them in the cold. For more tips on cold weather care, please visit ASPCA.org.

We were all sad to hear of the passing of animal lover Betty White. Betty was a tireless supporter of animal welfare and dedicated to improving the lives of animals everywhere. She would have turned 100 on January 17, and so to honor what would have been her landmark birthday and her love of animals, a challenge has been issued to donate $5.00 to a shelter or rescue on that day. It sounds like a great way to make a big difference in the lives of pets awaiting a new home and the shelters and fosters who care for them in the meantime. In the midst of an ongoing pandemic that has canceled fundraisers, many are struggling to provide and any income is greatly appreciated. So, let’s all remember on Monday, January 17, to honor Betty and participate in the #BettyWhiteChallenge.

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