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Pets' Safety And Health At Risk In Winter Months

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Just like humans, animals also face possible injuries when outside in snowy weather.
www.flickr.com/Dee O'Shell
Just like humans, animals also face possible injuries when outside in snowy weather.

By Rebecca Sheir

As winter slogs on, the ice and snow can endanger people's health and safety. But some pets are at risk, too.

Tim Kimener, a veterinary technician in Northwest D.C., says a major danger is the snow itself.

"When they step down into the snow when it's frozen at the top, it kind of cuts up their legs - just like how it does with us," says Kimener.

And just like us, the ice can be a problem, too. One misstep could lead to hip or knee surgery, or re-injury.

"We have had a couple of re-injuries come back in because of the ice and everything and the snow," he says.

But beyond injury, there's illness because of chemicals we use on our roads and cars.

"Ethylene glycol, which is in anti-freeze, is a big one," says Ashley Hughes, a veterinarian in Northwest D.C.

"Cats and dogs only need to ingest a little bit, and it can actually cause irreversible damage to their kidneys," she says.

Hughes suggests washing paws regularly, and using pet-friendly ice-melters on driveways and sidewalks.

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