Things Around the House (Inside and Out) That Could Make Your Dog Sick This Winter

  • 17/12/2019
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The winter season is an exciting time for everyone. The falling snow, gatherings with friends and family, and a general feeling of happiness and cheer make this a great time to be alive, both for you and your pet. However, as with any season, there are dangers lurking that can be harmful to your dog if you aren’t paying attention.

These threats can be as innocent as a tree ornament or as lethal as antifreeze in your garage or on the driveway, and special care is needed. We have included some of the most common pet hazards for the winter season. Watch out for these hidden dangers and make it a merry holiday for you and your pooch.

Indoor Pet Risks

Colder winters tend to convince most people and their pets to stay inside, but with holiday items strewn around the house, you need to watch your dog carefully. Since most plants don’t grow outside in the winter, many people double up on their indoor holiday plants, but many of these can be toxic to animals. Dogs should stay away from poinsettias because they can lead to inflammation and vomiting. Similarly, holly and mistletoe can also result in an upset stomach and general discomfort.

Although it is an alluring centerpiece in your living room, the dog should generally stay away from the Christmas tree. If the dogs choose to chew on the pine needles, it could lead to an upset stomach, and the sharp tips could damage their insides. Fragile ornaments should be kept towards the top of the tree because they could create a choking hazard or break apart in the dog’s stomach. Avoid putting candles on the tree, or your pooch could risk knocking them off and starting a fire.

The holidays are a time of great food, but what you love to eat could be dangerous for your pup. Keep your advent calendar in a safe place, as the chocolate found within can contain theobromine and caffeine, which are toxic to pets. The winter months are also a big time for pistachios and macadamia nuts, but these should be kept out of reach as they have been known to cause neurological issues. Nutmeg is another lesser-known danger that can cause seizures.

External Threats

During the winter months, when snow is falling and ice is freezing, we tend to take a lot of precautions to make life easier, but you also want to be mindful of the pets. Be cautious of using sidewalk de-icers to melt the ice because, in addition to salt, they also often contain potassium and magnesium chloride, which can cause stomach problems. Even if the dogs do not eat the salt, the sharp shards could also be dangerous to your puppy's paws. As an alternative, try sprinkling kitty litter or sand, which won’t melt the ice but will make it easier for humans and pets to navigate.

To keep our cars clean and warm, we tend to park them indoors during the cold winter months, but an unclean garage could create pet hazards. Antifreeze is especially dangerous as it contains a chemical called ethylene glycol that is lethal for dogs. It can cause weakness, depression, diarrhea, and can even leave your pet in a coma. When digested, motor oil can cause lethargy, coordination issues, and frequent vomiting. You can easily avoid these threats, and enjoy a few extra benefits by keeping your garage clean, preventing vehicle leaks, and power washing affected surfaces.

Winter is also a big time of the year for many unwanted pests as they try to get out of the cold and into your warm home. Rat poison should not be spread if you have dogs, as ingestion can lead to neurological effects, including paralysis and seizures. Insecticides that include dangerous chemicals such as amitraz and acephate can also create adverse reactions, not limited to muscle tremors and respiratory failure.

What to Do if Your Pet Falls Ill

As a pet owner, it is your responsibility to keep these dangerous substances and products away from your dog. Other than doing your best to prevent issues, the first step to proper care is knowing when your dog is ill in the first place. Although we have mentioned some symptoms above, keep an eye out for typical signs of discomfort, including excessive water consumption, stiffness, labored breathing, cloudy eyes, and vomiting or a change in bowel movements. If you notice any of these issues, then special care is needed.

If your dog is showing mild symptoms of sickness, then help them by providing assistance similar to what you would do for a human. Sick dogs need rest, so provide a quiet and comfortable place where they can sleep. Also, make sure that everyone in the family is aware of the pup’s dietary restrictions so your dog is never fed anything they shouldn’t eat. Your dogs should also be kept hydrated and eat at a comfortable pace.

Of course, if symptoms get worse, then you need to see a vet. Only a professional can properly diagnose excessive conditions and offer the proper care that your pooch needs. Vets can even prescribe special food for dogs with upset stomachs and recommend exercise routines. Some people skip the vet appointment because they feel they cannot afford the bills, but caring for your pet is essential, so ask about payment plans or apply for pet insurance, even if your dog isn’t usually sick.

Winter is a fantastic season full of family, fun, and those amazing holidays that we all love. Take the proper precautions so your dog can enjoy the festivities as well.

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