Choose a season:

Fall and Winter

1. Cold weather

  • This is particularly important if your dog lives outdoors – ensure that you provide adequate shelter that is well insulted and protects your pet from the elements. Your pet may also appreciate an outdoor-rated heating pad. Additionally, provide a heated water bowl, which will prevent the water from freezing. Lastly, these animals require a higher calorie food since they will use more energy to stay warm.
  • Many dogs can get snow packed in between their paw pads, which can turn to ice. This results in a great deal of pain and may cause your pet to limp. If you notice this happening, you may want to invest in some boots for your pet. This will also help protect your pet’s feet from salt and other potentially irritating chemicals.

  • Frostbite is the result of a redistribution of blood circulation to the core of the body to maintain internal temperatures. This can result in cold extremities that form damaging ice crystals within them. It can appear red to white and scaly or peeling, but most of the damage is not evident for days. If you suspect your pet is suffering from frostbite, bring them into a warm environment and contact the veterinarian (519-787-2000) immediately!

  • Be sure to wipe your pets belly and feet off to avoid ingestion of any deicing solutions (i.e. antifreeze) they may have picked up. These products are often toxic (even in minute quantities) and if not treated in time can cause kidney damage or even death. If you witness or suspect your pet has ingested any deicing solution, contact your veterinarian (519-787-2000) immediately!

  • Outdoor cats may crawl up into warm car engines. If you cannot keep your cat inside, try making a lot of noise (such as tapping on the car hood or honking the horn) before starting your engine.

  • Arthritis may become more severe in the cold weather. Consider modifying their environment to make mobility easier, avoid prolonged exposure to the cold, provide a warm bed and consider speaking with your veterinarian (519-787-2000) if your pet requires pain management.

  • Hypothermia is the result of prolonged exposure to a cold environment. Signs include shivering, lethargy, stiff muscles, a decreased heart and respiratory rate and/or a lack of responding to stimuli. If you suspect your pet is suffering from hypothermia, bring them into a warm environment, wrap them in a blanket and contact your veterinarian (519-787-2000) immediately!

2. Darkness

  • As the days grow shorter, you may find yourself walking your pet in the dark. Take extra precautions by wearing reflective materials to ensure that you are being seen by cars

3. Christmas

  • Tinsel and ornaments can cause lacerations or become lodged in your pet’s intestines, requiring surgical removal.
  • Water from the base of the tree can contain secretions that may upset your pet’s stomach.

  • Holiday food can often be too spicy, fatty or poisonous to our pets, so it is best to avoid giving them table scraps – try a nice pet-themed cookie instead! Click here to see a list of foods that are poisonous to your pets!
  • Plants: mistletoe and bulbs of the amaryllis plant are toxic to pets, but poinsettias are perfectly safe! Click here for a list of poisonous and safe plants!
  • Extension cords and electric light cords: teething puppies and playful cats may bite through these wires, which can cause mouth burns and respiratory distress. If you witness or suspect your pet has done this, seek veterinary (519-787-2000) attention immediately!

  • Some precautions to take over the Christmas holiday’s include: placing the Christmas tree and decorations in rooms that are inaccessible to pets, avoiding poisonous plants and not providing table scraps

Spring and Summer

1. Heat!

  • Even on moderately warm days with the windows rolled down, it is unacceptable to leave a dog in the car. The temperature in a car can quickly rise, leading to fatal consequences for your pet.

  • Dogs should be exercise-restricted during hot weather, especially mid-day when the temperatures are most intense.

  • Provide your dog with enough shade and cool, clean water (especially if they live outside).

  • Watch for signs of heatstroke, including glassy eyes, dehydration, excessive panting and vomiting.  Increased humidity decreases your pets ability to dissipate excess heat, thereby increasing their chances for heatstroke. If there is a concern, you should seek veterinary (519-787-2000) attention for your pet immediately!

2. Gardening risks

  • Summer can be an exciting time for gardeners, but beware that many plants and pesticides are toxic to your pet!

3. Hiking

  • While hiking is a great way to spend time with your pet and get some exercise, there are a number of risks that need to be monitored, including foxtails (a type of grass seed), burrs, and ticks, to name a few.

4. Insects and parasites

  • Many parasites are more prevalent in the warmer months due to favourable growth conditions – it is therefore important to maintain a good regime of preventative care. Your veterinarian (519-787-2000) can assist you in a preventative plan!

  • In particular, summer means mosquitoes and mosquitoes mean heartworm! It is best to book an appointment with your veterinarian (519-787-2000) to obtain prophylactic medications for your dog to prevent heartworm transmission!

  • Beware of drinking out of ponds and streams – many parasites can be lurking here!

  • Inspect your pet regularly for ticks, especially if you have been in an area where they are prevalent. Ticks can carry a number of diseases that can infect your pet (including Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever). If you are unsure or uncomfortable with removing them (we suggest a tick twister), your veterinarian (519-787-2000) can assist you (since improper removal can increase the chance of disease transmission). The tick(s) should be removed as soon as possible to limit the likelihood of disease transmission.

5. Pools and Lakes

  • Remember, not all dogs can swim! Ensure that your dog is being properly monitored when going in the water. Life jackets are also available for dogs!

6. Fishing Tackle

  • Pets can often be attracted to the bait used for fishing. Unfortunately, the hooks are often barbed and therefore cannot easily be removed. You should seek veterinary attention (519-787-2000) to rectify this situation since removal without sedation may be very difficult and lead to trauma!

7. Pick-up Trucks and Rolled Down Windows

  • While your pet may love the feel of wind in their face, riding on the back of a truck can be dangerous. They may fall and be hit by oncoming traffic. As well, pets may be tempted to jump off the back of a moving truck or out of a window if they see something tempting. Another concern is the high velocity at which bugs and other debris is moving towards your pet, which can cause eye and other facial injuries.

8. Seasonal Allergies

  • Just like you, your pet can also suffer from allergies such as mold, pollen and hay fever! However, rather then sneezing, pets often develop itchy skin, which they may scratch and bite at constantly. This may result in sores that become infected. If you suspect your pet may have allergies, contact the veterinarian (519-787-2000) to develop a management plan!