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Winter Pet Dangers

January 1, 2014

The temperatures drop, the snow is falling… how do you keep your pet safe and happy during the winter months? Here, a West Greenwich veterinarian discusses a few of the winter hazards that face our pets, and advises you on avoiding them.

Frostbite and Hypothermia

If your pet stays out in the cold weather too long, frostbite and hypothermia are two serious concerns. Pet’s extremities, like their paws and ears, are susceptible to frostbite, and any pet that stays out in freezing temperatures could get hypothermia. The best way to avoid both is to keep your pet inside, only letting him out for short periods of time to play or use the bathroom. Contact your veterinarian immediately if you suspect either of these cold-temperature concerns are afflicting your pet.

Deep Snow

Some pets, especially dogs, may love romping around in the snow. Beware, however, of deep snowbanks. Even athletic dogs could exhaust themselves trudging through thick patches. Keep your pet away from deep snow and assist them in moving through the white stuff.


If your pet runs across an icy patch, they could slip and hyperextend a limb, tear a muscle, or strain a ligament. If the ice is on stairs or other raised areas, a pet could slip and fall, resulting in serious injury. Avoid icy patches whenever possible and call your vet immediately if an accident does occur.


We put antifreeze in our car engines during the winter. Unfortunately, antifreeze contains ethylene glycol, a sweet-tasting substance that is highly toxic to pets. Keep your pet inside when putting antifreeze in your engine, and seal and store the container properly. Clean up any antifreeze spills immediately, and rush your pet to your West Greenwich veterinary hospital immediately if ingestion does happen.

Road Salt and De-Icers

If your pet is spending time outdoors this winter, take care that he doesn’t ingest any road salt—the salt itself will upset your pet’s stomach, and it could be mixed with harmful chemicals. De-icer products that melt ice may also be poisonous to pets, so avoid icy patches or areas where chemicals have been used.

Please feel free to contact us, your local animal clinic in West Greenwich, RI!

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