Winter is here in full swing in Montana and that means added worries about your pets. Frostbite, anti-freeze ingestion, and ice melts are key things to watch out for during these next few frigid months. It is important to take into consideration the breed and age of the dog. Owners of dogs with short coats, puppies, and aged dogs should take extra care when housing dogs outside or enjoying outside activities. It is important that owners are aware of their individual dog. Many dogs get so wrapped up playing they don't realize how cold it truly is. Here at the clinic we have seen multiple dogs come in with various stages of frost bite, ranging from fresh sores to old scabs reopened from new exposure. If it's too cold for you to spend hours outside barefoot, it is probably too cold for your pet. 

This goes hand in hand with ice melts. Ice melts are typically composed of sodium chloride or calcium chloride. These products can be harmful to your pets paws. Always make sure to wipe off your pup's feet after taking a walk outside, or think about investing in a set of paw booties which will block the feet from coming in contact with and of the icy, salty residue. 

Finally, don't forget to keep an eye on your pet and make sure they stay away from anti-freeze. The liquid so essential for keeping our cars running in cold weather provides a sweet taste for our four legged friends. It is however toxic. Symptoms of anti-freeze poisoning include: walking around in a drunken state, excessive drooling, thirst, and urination, vomiting, and seizures. If you are concerned that your pet might have come in contact with anti-freeze contact your veterinarian immediately.