As cold temperatures move in, it's important that we remember to look out for our furry friends.
Exposure to winter’s dry, cold air and chilly rain, sleet and snow can cause chapped paws and itchy skin, but these aren’t the only discomforts pets can suffer.
For example, winter walks can become dangerous if chemicals from ice-melting agents are licked off of bare paws, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
To help prevent cold weather dangers from affecting your pet, here's some advice from the Animal Humane Society:
- During severe weather, dogs should be let out only to relieve themselves. Cats should be kept indoors.
- Make sure to remove ice, salt and caked mud from your pet's paws and coat immediately after they are outdoors.
- Before walks, the Animal Humane Society recommends you put Vaseline or doggie shoes on your dogs' paws to protect him/her from sidewalk salt and chemicals; wipe the Vaseline off when back inside.
- Make sure your pet’s bed is not on the floor in a cold or drafty area of your home. A cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.
- Keep them busy with indoor brain games.
- In severe weather, allow your pet to be in your house or garage if possible.
- Outdoor pets typically need more food in cold weather because they must burn more calories to keep warm.
- Check for frostbite, especially on paws and ears.
- Make sure your pet’s water is never frozen.
- Keep an eye out for and clean up all antifreeze spills — one lick of the sweet-tasting fluid can be fatal to an animal, according to the Animal Humane Society.
- Cats have been known to climb onto vehicle engines for warmth. Knock on the hood of your car before starting the engine if you suspect your cat could be inside.
If you have additional questions or concerns about how to care for your pet in freezing temperatures, please check with your veterinarian.