Winter Storm Watch: Pet Edition

Winter Storm Watch: Pet Edition

Feb 24, 2014

Winter Storm Watch: Pet Edition

Winter brings extreme temperatures that put our pets at risk for illness, injury and exposure to the elements. Keep your pets safe this winter with these helpful tips.

Limit playtime

Extended exposure to extreme temperatures, snow and ice can be dangerous for your dog or cat. Even if your dog loves to play in the snow, keep a close eye on him, watch for signs of hypothermia and frostbite and take periodic breaks indoors.

Keep water bowls warm

Water bowls left outside or in the garage can easily freeze. Check bowls often and consider purchasing a water bowl heater.

Check cars

Pets, especially cats, may climb on top of or into the engine of warm cars. Knock on the hood or honk the horn to wake up any sleeping pets.

Clean up antifreeze

Antifreeze and other cold-weather chemicals like deicer can be toxic to pets. Look for puddles, clean your pet’s paws if he has walked through a chemical, and be aware of toxicity symptoms: stumbling, vomiting and depression.

Bundle up

Animals with short fur may benefit from “doggy sweaters.” Watch your dog for shivering and limit time outdoors in extreme cold. In icy and snowy conditions, check your pet’s paws for bleeding. 

Keep young animals indoors

Puppies and kittens don’t have the fat, metabolism or the fluffy fur coat needed to keep warm in winter weather and they should always be kept indoors during extreme temperature drops.

Make shelter for outdoor animals

Cats and other outdoor-only animals need warm, dry shelters, protected from the wind during winter months with a plenty of fresh water and food.

Provide choices

If possible give outdoor pets the option to come in, with a doggy door or cat door, and make multiple sleeping surfaces both indoors and outdoors for pets. Tile and cement floors can become extremely cold, while areas near woodstoves and fireplaces may become extremely hot.

Check IDs

Pets are more likely to become lost in the winter when snow and ice hide recognizable smells. Be sure your pet is wearing a collar with an ID tag and if possible get a microchip.

Prepare for emergencies

If you stock up on food, water, and batteries in case of extreme winter weather, be sure to include your pets in your plans, keeping extra pet food and water on hand in case of an emergency.



Web MD: Pets: Pet Winter Safety: Prepping Your Pet for Winter Weather

ABC News: Lifestyle: Pets: 6 Pet Safety Tips for the Extreme Cold

American Veterinary Medical Association: Pet Care: Cold Weather Pet Safety

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