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Top Ten Ways to Keep Pets Safe This Winter

  1. FK_winterdoggie_232x150.jpg Watch your pets closely around fireplaces and other heat sources and make sure their tails or paws do not come in contact with hot surfaces that can cause severe burns. For everyone’s safety, have your furnace checked for carbon monoxide leakage before you turn it on.
  2. Older dogs and puppies are especially vulnerable to the cold. Diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, and hormonal imbalances can compromise a pet’s ability to regulate their own body heat. The cold can be especially hard on the joints of older, arthritic animals who may slip on ice, so beware of conditions when you walk them.
  3. Ensure that your pet always has easy access to fresh, non-frozen drinking water. Animals who do not often turn to gutters and puddles and may drink deadly antifreeze, oil and other chemicals. Like coolant, antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle, and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol. Visit the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center for more information.
  4. Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter; a longer coat will provide more warmth. When you bathe your dog in the colder months, be sure to completely dry him before taking him out for a walk. Short-haired breeds will appreciate a coat or sweater with a high collar that snuggles them from the base of the tail to the belly.
  5. If your pooch spends a lot of time engaged in outdoor activities, increase his supply of food, particularly protein, to keep his muscles and fur healthy.
  6. FK_snowpup_223x150.jpgBeware of your pet becoming trapped. Animals left outdoors can be very resourceful in trying to find shelter. They dig into snow banks and dive under porches, into window wells, and cellars where they can become trapped. Always provide warm, accessible shelter and watch them closely.
  7. Provide your pet with a soft bed in a warm room on chilly evenings. Keep pets indoors as much as possible in cold weather. When they go out, stay with them. When you’re cold enough to go in, your pet is probably is too. Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death.
  8. Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm. Dogs can lose their scent easily and become lost. More dogs are lost during the winter than during any other season, so make sure yours always wears ID tags.
  9. Pets who roam outdoors can pick up rock salt, ice, and chemical ice melts on their foot pads. Keep your pet’s pads from getting chapped and raw (and prevent them from licking them and ingesting harmful chemicals) by wiping their feet when they come inside.
  10. Always check under your car hood, honk, or knock on the hood of your vehicle before you start the engine. A cold kitty will curl up against almost anything–including engines–to stay warm.
Watch the ASPCA's video below for more tips on holiday safety for pets:

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