You’re probably already aware of the risks posed by warm weather and leaving pets in hot cars, but did you know that cold weather also poses serious threats to your pets’ health?
The ASPCA offers these guidelines on how to help keep your pets safe this winter:
- Keep your cat inside. During the winter, outdoor cats sometimes sleep under the hoods of cars. When the motor is started, the cat can be injured or killed by the fan belt. If there are outdoor cats in your area, bang loudly on the car hood before starting the engine or honk your horn to give the cat a chance to escape.
- Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm, dogs can easily become lost. Make sure your dog always wears ID tags.
- Thoroughly wipe off your dog’s legs and stomach when he comes in out of the sleet, snow or ice. He can ingest salt, antifreeze, or other potentially dangerous chemicals while licking his paws, and his paw pads may also bleed from snow or encrusted ice.
- Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter. When you bathe your dog in the colder months, be sure to completely dry him before taking him out for a walk.
- Consider getting dogs with short coats a sweater or coat with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly. For many dogs, this is regulation winter wear.
- Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during cold weather.
- Puppies do not tolerate the cold as well as adult dogs, and may be difficult to housebreak during the winter. If your puppy appears to be sensitive to the weather, you may opt to paper-train him inside. If your dog is sensitive to the cold due to age, illness or breed type, take him outdoors only to relieve himself.
Some pets thrive in the cold weather. Or, for others it can be a time of discomfort and even danger. With some proper planning, your pet will not have to suffer through the cold. If in doubt, discuss specific cold weather needs for your pet with your veterinarian.