11 Tips to Keep Your Pet Safe Around Your Car This Winter

December 24th, 2018 by

Keeping Your Pets Safe This Winter


Whether you just leased your next Chevrolet or just driving around on your older vehicle winter can present some serious challenges for a pet owner if your pet has normally been spending most of its time outdoors during the rest of the year. Even though they might have a thick coat of fur, it’s generally true that they don’t tolerate cold weather in the winter months any better than you or I do.


This is why you should be especially careful during the winter to keep your pets safe and out of trouble when they’re outside with your car nearby. Here are some things to be wary of:



Avoid Exposure To Toxins


Antifreeze is an essential part of keeping your car running properly during the winter. But antifreeze containing propylene glycol will taste sweet to animals, so if your pet laps up even a small amount of antifreeze, it can be fatal. Be sure to keep any open containers of antifreeze away from your pet. Make sure there are no antifreeze spills around your car leaks where your pet can be exposed.



Make Sure Your Car is Off Limits


If possible, simply keep your pet out of the garage where your car is parked. If any antifreeze or other harmful chemical toxins have leaked out, it won’t be discovered by your pet.


Cats love to climb into tight spaces to hide, like under the hood or inside a wheel well of your car. Make sure your cat doesn’t find an appealing area in your car to settle down. It might be warm to them, but it could also be extremely dangerous for them to hide when you start up the engine. Carbon monoxide from your car’s exhaust when warming up the car can be deadly to you as well as your pet.


Dogs and other pets may also find the inside of your car’s tire or under the hood of your car a comfortable place to take a nap. But these are not safe places for them to be resting when the car unexpectedly begins moving without you being aware of them being in danger.



Always Check Around The Car Before Driving Away


No matter how much of a hurry you might be to get going, in the winter when your pet is outside, check to see where they are before driving off. Look before you go into reverse. If the windows are frosty, and you can barely see through them, get out of the car and walk around it, if you have a truck check the truck bed liner. Double-check to make sure you won’t be running over or possibly freezing the smallest member of your family.



Be Prepared With Care and Protection


When winter approaches, you should be as prepared as possible to give your pet a little extra care and protection. When they are forced to spend even part of their time outside during the cold winter season, you need to be especially careful about the possible hazards your car could create for your pet while they are outside.


Most pets are used to the constant warmth of being sheltered indoors, and unfortunately, cold weather can be just as hard on them as it is on humans.



Make Your Pet’s Bedding Comfortable


Don’t ask your pet to sleep on a cold floor in the winter. Choose comfortable bedding, an extra layer of blanket, and perhaps raise the bed to ensure your pet stays warm. They should never be tempted to cuddle up and go to sleep next to your car. By providing a snug environment, your tires and engine bay will be much less inviting There will be much less likely they will get into trouble. Place their bed in a warm spot that’s away from cold drafts, tiles or uncarpeted floors. Add an extra layer of blanket. Put it in a spot where they would normally sleep each day so the spot doesn’t feel unfamiliar and their body temperature can stay comfortable.



Don’t Overfeed!


Pets can become lazier during the colder months and need fewer calories than during the summer. Don’t overfeed your pet with extra food during the wintertime. Adjust their diet to match their activity level. A high-quality diet with ample raw meat will ensure a healthy winter coat and plenty of energy during the season.



Never Leave A Pet Inside A Car


This safety rule applies not only to other humans but to pets as well. And it applies not only to cars exposed to the summer’s sun but too cold cars in the winter and even at night. It’s never a good idea to leave a pet inside a locked car. You can never be sure what’s going to happen to them. The temperature can change unexpectedly; they can find themselves in a strange situation and panic, or you can even forget they’re inside the car. Just make it a habit to never leave your pet inside a car unattended, any number of bad things can and probably will happen that you don’t expect.



Pets Don’t Like Cold Weather


Most animals, and especially household pets, don’t like cold weather. Even outdoor cats and dogs can find really cold weather uncomfortable. Although they may have thick fur that keeps them reasonably warm naturally, sometimes a pet can have a thinner coat and might need to wear a pet sweater or coat when they go outside. A good coat should reach all the way to the base of the tail and provide protection for their stomach area. And when they get uncomfortable in the cold outside, bring them into a warm place to allow them to recover.



Pet Safety


Always remember that a coat will not prevent frostbite to your pet’s feet, ears or tail. Long-haired dogs and cats have very little protection to their extremities. A cat’s or dog’s paw pads and nose are not naturally covered with any protective hair. So, even after you’ve dressed your pet with a cozy coat, especially if they have short hair, don’t allow them to stay outside for long periods when the temperature is freezing.



Frostbite Warnings


Frostbite begins when your pet’s body gets too cold. Their body heat is automatically channeled by the blood from the extremities to the center of their body so they can stay warm. Meanwhile, their ears, paws, or tail can get so cold that ice crystals will form and cause tissue damage. Look out for signs of frostbite, like the skin turning grey or pail, or is hard or cold to the touch. Pay particular attention to your pet’s paws and make sure the skin isn’t turning grey or pail or has become hard or cold to the touch. When a frostbitten area warms up, the animal can experience a great deal of pain, and the skin will turn black and eventually fall off.





Another serious winter weather concern for your pet is hypothermia. This will occur when your pet spends too much time out in the cold and gets wet, or when an animal in poor health or with poor circulation is exposed to cold temperatures. In the mildest cases, the animal will begin to shiver and grow cold. As the condition progresses, you may notice signs of depression, weakness, or lethargy. In the worst cases, hypothermia can be life-threatening Your pet’s muscles will become stiff, heart and breathing rates will become slower, and there may be little response to external stimuli. You must be able to recognize any signs of hypothermia in your pet and bring them indoors immediately so they can warm up.


Hopefully, these safety tips will give you some helpful ideas about keeping your pet from harm when the temperature drops during the winter. Always be mindful that there are extra dangers for your close furry friends when the weather turns cold. Pay attention to their needs and help them be safe and comfortable during the winter season.



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Posted in Manitoba, Tips, Winnipeg