Woolwich Township, NJ–Saint Francis Veterinary Center has issued a winter health alert for pet owners in the region.
“Many weather experts are predicting the harshest winter season we’ve experienced in many years,” said Karyn L. Collier, Chief Medical Officer of Saint Francis. “Even though our pets have fur, harsh cold weather poses serious health threats. We are advising all pet owners to closely monitor their pets’ exposure to winter elements throughout the season.”
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) offers the following winter weather tips to keep your pets healthy and safe during the winter months:
· Keep your cat inside.
· If there are outdoor cats in your area, bang loudly on the car hood before starting the engine in case one has crawled under the hood for warmth.
· Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice. Dogs can lose their scent and easily become lost in snow storms.
· Thoroughly wipe off your dog's legs and stomach when he comes in out of the sleet, snow or ice to prevent ingestion of salt, antifreeze or other dangerous chemicals.
· Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, and be sure to completely dry your dog following a bathe before taking him out for a walk. Consider getting your dog a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly.
· Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death.
· Puppies do not tolerate the cold as well as adult dogs, and may be difficult to housebreak during the winter. If your dog is sensitive to the cold due to age, illness or breed type, take him outdoors only to relieve himself.
· Like coolant, antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle, and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol. Visit the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center more information.
· Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.
· If your dog enjoys lots of outdoor activity, talk to your vet about potentially increasing the supply of food, particularly protein, to keep him, and his fur, in tip-top shape.
If your pet experiences a medical emergency, the Saint Francis emergency service is open 24 hours per day. Here are important winter transportation tips to Saint Francis Veterinary hospital:
· Remain calm – your pet depends on you to maintain clear thoughts to maintain safety for both of you
· Call Saint Francis – 856.467.0050. Saint Francis’ doctors and staff will work to help you through the situation.
· Evaluate your surroundings – do not drive if conditions are unsafe.
· If conditions are safe for transportation, secure your pet in your car. This is very important to ensure safe driving conditions inside your vehicle.
· Print out directions and review the route, or program your GPS, BEFORE you turn on your car. Do not look at your phone as you drive.
· Let a family member know that you are transporting your pet to the hospital, and set times that you will check in. Alert them to your route in case something should happen so that authorities can reach you in the event of a break down.
· Drive safely. Stay off of back roads and roads that are poorly lit or plowed.
· When you arrive, park directly in front of the hospital, ring the emergency bell, and Saint Francis staff will immediately assist you. After you arrive, immediately call a family member.
About Saint Francis Veterinary Center
Saint Francis Veterinary Center is recognized by the American Animal Hospital Association as an Accredited Referral practice, a designation earned by fewer than 1% of North America’s 27,000 animal hospitals. Saint Francis is the only AAHA Accredited Referral hospital in southern New Jersey. Based in Woolwich Township, N.J. the award winning center is home to Board Certified specialists and experienced clinicians specializing in 24/7 emergency and critical care, surgery, internal medicine, cardiology, radiology, ophthalmology, physical rehabilitation, nuclear medicine, and holistic and natural therapies. For more information please visit http://www.saintfrancis.org/.