Business Insurers of the Carolinas and Pet Sitters International Share Tips to Prevent Common Weather-Related Pet Injuries.

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Avoid dangerous and expensive pet injuries this winter.

Winter can be harsh on pets. David Pearsall sees an increase in the number of pet-related insurance claims caused by snow and ice each year. His company, Business Insurers of the Carolinas (BIC), is the largest policy writer for pet caregivers in the United States and serves the majority of Pet Sitters International’s nearly 7,000 businesses.

Lesions on legs from stepping in snow holes, cuts on paws from walking on ice and illnesses from ingesting toxic chemicals are all typical claims that come across Pearsall’s desk each winter.

These are dangers that can easily avoided if pet owners and caregivers are conscientious.

“The most common winter–related pet injuries can easily be avoided by paying extra attention and spending a little more time with pets,” Pearsall said.

According to Pearsall, it’s very common but dangerous for owners to keep pets in the garage where they have access to anti-freeze and other toxic chemicals.

“Before hastily placing your dogs in your garage due to a drop in temperature, take time to assess items within their reach,” Pearsall said. “Garages often contain cleansers and automotive products like antifreeze that can be fatal if ingested.”

One recent insurance claim handled by BIC involved two dogs who ingested hand warmers. The trip to the veterinarian and subsequent treatment resulted in a $5,000 medical expense.

Potential winter hazards extend beyond danger to pets. Another common winter pet issue occurs when pets are left unattended in the home for extended periods. This often happens when pet owners are unable to return home from the office on time due to winter weather conditions. Even the best trained and most house-broken dog can only hold its bladder and bowels for so long. The result—soiled carpeting or flooring—can be costly.

Add boredom to the equation and the potential for problems increases. If left unattended for extended periods, some pets will destroy furnishings or eat clothing items.

When possible, BIC and Pet Sitters International (PSI) urge pet owners and pet-care providers to consider the following preventive measures for maximum health and safety for their pets this winter:

Keep all young, old and short-haired pets inside. These types of pets are more vulnerable to cold weather and should not be left outside for long and without supervision.

Provide shelter for any pets that are left outside. Add straw for additional insulation from the cold and provide a snug, warm bed that does not sit directly on the ground.

Leave extra food and water in plastic bowls for any pets that are left outside.

Learn the signs and symptoms of frostbite and hypothermia. Contact your veterinarian immediately if you suspect you pet is suffering from either of these conditions.

Clip the long hair on the bottom of your dog’s feet before the snow and ice fall. This will prevent the build up of ice balls which can be painful and difficult to remove.

Trim your pet’s nails regularly during the winter. Pets may have a difficult time trying to maintain solid footing in icy conditions with long nails.

Find a warm place for your pets to sleep. All pets, including small caged pets need to be kept warm and away from drafts.

Place pet-safe wipes by the door. Ice-melting chemicals and salt can irritate and burn the pads of your pet’s paws. Thoroughly wipe off your pet’s paws when he comes inside.

Use antifreeze and other household chemicals that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol, which is extremely poisonous to pets.

Get in the habit of banging on the hood of your car before starting the engine. Cats and wildlife seek warmth and climb into the engine during cold months.

If winter travel will keep you away from your home and pets, book the services of a professional pet sitter in advance to ensure your pets are safe and comfortable.

For more information about PSI or to locate a professional pet sitter in your area, please visit http://www.petsit.com/locate. To learn more about BIC, visit http://www.psi-ins.com.

About Pet Sitters International
Established in 1994, Pet Sitters International (PSI) is the world’s largest educational association for professional pet sitters, representing nearly 7,000 independent professional pet-sitting businesses in the United States, Canada and abroad. PSI provides members with access to affordable bonding and liability insurance as well as educational resources that include a comprehensive Certification Program, Pet Sitter’s WORLD magazine, The Scoop e-news and PSI’s annual Quest convention. For more information, visit http://www.petsit.com, home of the Official Pet Sitter Locator™ or sign up to receive The Scoop on Pet Care. Visit the PSIStoreOnline, the largest specialty retailer of products for pet sitters and pet-sitting business owners.

About Business Insurers of the Carolinas
Business Insurers has been providing General Liability specifically designed for the pet sitters associations since 1995. Their coverage includes the broadest Care, Custody and Control coverage for the pets and property in your care whether at your client’s home, in transit or at your home. For more information on insurance and bonding, please visit Business Insurers of the Carolinas.

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Courtney Klein
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