How to keep pets safe during winter weather

Posted at 11:46 AM, Jan 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-07 07:12:35-04

Snowfall and frigid temperatures could pose health risks for pets.

Here’s how to keep your animals warm and safe this winter, according to the Humane Society of the United States:

Pets should stay indoors

Never leave your pets outside when temperatures drop. If there’s a reason your dog needs to be outdoors, make sure he or she is equipped with a draft-free shelter that’s dry and large enough to move around in, but small enough to hold in body heat. The floor should be raised a few inches from the ground and covered with cedar shavings or straw. Secure the doorway with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic. Be sure to refresh your dog’s water dish and only use plastic food and water containers to keep their tongues from sticking to frozen metal.

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Keep pets bundled up and dry

During extreme cold, your pet’s nose, ears and paw pads are at risk of frostbite and hypothermia. The Humane Society suggests dressing short-haired dogs in comfy sweaters, even during short walks.

Get rid of poisons

Beware of rock salt and other snow-melting chemicals that can irritate the pads of your pet’s feet. Wipe paws down with a damp towel before your pet licks off the chemicals and irritates his or her mouth. Store salt, antifreeze and coolants in a safe place. If your dog ingests rock salt, call your vet immediately.

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Keep outdoor animals safe

Outdoor cats and small wildlife often seek shelter under the warm engines of parked cars. To avoid hurting hidden animals, bang on your car's hood before starting your engine to scare them away.

Say something

If you see a pet left out in the cold, tell the owner you’re concerned. If any witnessed neglect continues, follow the Humane Society’s tips on how to report animal cruelty.

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