Arctic Ohio

It seems to me that taking a simple walk outdoors becomes more like embarking on an arctic expedition when the mercury plunges. First I am bundled up in my pink coat and then my harness is put on over the coat. My collar and I.D. tags are checked – animals can lose their scent on snow and ice and become lost. When my leash is attached to my harness I’m ready to go.

The front steps are covered with pet-safe ice melt but I prefer to walk in the snow. The first stop on my expedition is my car. I sniff around the car to make sure there are no stray cats hiding under the hood. Sometimes cats hide under car hoods to stay warm, but they can be injured or killed when the engine starts unless I chase them away.

While I check out the terrain, my pet parent is watching out for salt, antifreeze and other potentially dangerous chemicals on the ground so we can avoid them. After our brisk walk we return home where I am brushed off to make sure there is no salt or antifreeze on my paws or stomach. Pets can ingest chemicals by licking their paws after being outdoors. Now I’m ready to settle down on my blanket and watch the snow fall outside the window – until the next walk.

Pet parents can learn about the signs that their pet has been poisoned in the American Red Cross Dog First Aid book or by taking a Dog First Aid class.

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