At Clinique Vétérinaire Jarry, the safety of your pet is important to us. Here are some tips to ensure the safety of your pet in winter and summer.
The common practice of leaving a dog tied outside the grocery store or letting a cat roam freely outside may be safe in small villages, but in a city like Montreal, leaving a pet unattended could lead to a lot of trouble.
For example, even if you have a big dog that is wary of strangers, if it is tied up outside while you do your shopping, it is easy for a stranger to take the leash and lead your dog to their car. Imagine how easy it would be to get hold of a small dog! Leaving your dog unattended in your yard or in your car is also dangerous: an ill-intentioned person could just jump over your fence or open your car door and take your pet.
Although cats are often described as great hunters, they also have their predators. Streets with heavy traffic and neighbourhoods where carriers of disease and parasites (such as stray cats and wildlife) are common are not safe places for domestic cats. In short, never leave your pet unattended!
When you spend time outdoors with your dog and you’re having fun playing together, it can be easy to forget the dangers of heat and sun. Take breaks during which your dog can rest in the shade. Your dog can get sunburn. To protect it from burning the cushions of its paws on asphalt or hot sand, walk on the lawn and take your dog in your arms when you cross the street. Most importantly, always carry a bottle of water and a bowl to keep your companion hydrated.
Another very common danger for dogs is cars. Unlike humans, dogs do not sweat: they pant to cool off. On days when it is very hot outside, it is important to never leave your dog alone in a car, even if it is parked in the shade with the windows open for 5 minutes, since the ambient temperature can quickly rise to 60 degrees Celsius. Your dog could suffer a heat stroke, which you will recognize by excessive panting, difficulty breathing, vomiting, depression and dark gums.
Call us if your dog shows these symptoms, as heat stroke can be fatal. If you need to run errands, leave your dog at home, or take along a friend who can wait outside with your dog.
To prevent your dog from suffering from hypothermia or frostbite in winter, protect it from the cold and snow with a coat and boots, especially if your pet is small and has short fur. Road salt on streets and sidewalks can irritate paws and is toxic when swallowed, as is antifreeze. Do not let your pet’s paws come in contact with salt and clean up any antifreeze spills. If your dog refuses to wear boots, you can cut any fur under the paws to prevent ice from sticking there, and use a balm to protect its pads from salt and ice.
Wash your animal as little as possible in the winter, and moisturize the skin if it becomes dry. Keep your dog on a leash near frozen lakes, and do not walk on the ice since it may be thinner in some places. Do not leave your pet outside in winter, even in a car.
If you live with a cat, make sure it comes inside before night and install a cat door or a small shelter to keep it safe from the cold. Make sure you always hit the hood of your car before starting the engine because your cat or the neighbour’s could be hiding underneath.
With winter comes the holiday season. This is a joyous time for gathering with friends and family, but it is also a stressful time for shy animals. Try to keep your pet's routine stable, and settle it in a quiet room away from the noise and bustle of your guests. Keep poisonous plants such as poinsettias out of reach of your pets, and make sure to keep your pet away from Christmas trees, decorations and gifts, as there is significant risk of poisoning, electric shock or ingestion of small objects.
Do not share your treats for humans with animals, because they could get sick. Do not leave leftovers such as bones within reach, because your pet could ingest them and develop intestinal blockage problems. Using ribbons as collars presents a choking hazard for your pet, and costumes can be stressful, so do not leave them on your pet for longer than the duration of a quick photo.
Call Clinique Vétérinaire Jarry if you suspect your pet is suffering from frostbite or hypothermia or if you believe it has ingested a toxic substance or a small object.