Winter Pet Safety Tips
Pets don't fare much better than people in the cold. With heavy rains, snow and low temperatures, here are a few tips to help keep your furry family members safe and warm!
Know Your Pet's Limits
Just like people, pets' cold tolerance can vary from pet to pet, depending on their coat, activity level and health. You may need to short your dog's walks in very cold weather. Arthritic and elderly pets may have more difficulty walking on snow and ice and may be more prone to slipping and falling. Be aware of your pet's tolerance for cold weather and adjust accordingly.
Make Some Noise
A warm vehicle engine can be an appealing heat source for outdoor and feral cats. Check underneath your car, bang on the hood or honk the horn before starting your engine to encourage feline hitchhikers to abandon their roost under the hood.
Clean up any antifreeze spills quickly, as even small amounts of antifreeze can be deadly. Make sure pets don't have access to medication bottles, household chemicals, potentially toxic foods such as onions, chocolate and xylitol (a sugar substitute).
While it's always ideal to keep pets indoors, if you are unable to keep your dog inside during cold weather, provide him/her with warm, solid shelter against the wind. Make sure pets have unlimited access to fresh, non-frozen water (change water frequently or use a pet-safe, heated water bowl). The floor of the shelter should be off of the ground and the bedding should be thick, dry and changed regularly to provide a warm, dry environment. The door to the shelter should be away from prevailing winds. Space heaters and heat lamps should be avoided due to the rick of burns or a fire. Heated pet mats should also be used with caution because they are still capable of causing burns.
When In Doubt, Bring Them In
While some animals are better equipped to handle cold weather than others, if you're concerned that it may be too cold for your pets, bring them inside.
*Pet tips provided by AVMA, Red Rover, and the ASPCA*