Here’s how to keep your pet safe during the winter weather

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(Courtesy: ASPCA)

NEW YORK (WOWK) — As the weather is expected to drop in temperatures, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is reminding pet owners to keep their pets safe.

“Winter weather can be just as dangerous for pets as it can be for people, but there are many ways to prepare our pets and ensure their safety in potentially hazardous weather conditions. Pets can freeze, become disoriented, lost, injured, or even killed from being left outdoors in the cold. Any outdoor animals should be immediately brought and kept inside until the storm and cold temperatures pass.”

Dr. Lori Bierbrier, Senior Medical Director, ASPCA Community Medicine

Here are some helpful tips from the organization to keep your furry friends safe during the winter season:

  • If it is too cold for you, it’s also too cold for your pet
    • Keep your pets inside where they can stay cozy and safe.
    • Make sure your pet has a warm place to sleep that is off the floor and away from drafts.
    • If you see symptoms of frostbite, contact your veterinarian immediately.
  • During the winter, outdoor cats sometimes seek shelter underneath cars. 
    • Bang loudly on the car hood before starting the engine to give cats a chance to escape.
  • Clean and dry your pet’s feet and stomach after each walk 
    • You may also want to bring a towel on long walks to clean off irritated paws.
    • Watch out for ice, salt and chemicals during walks, they can get trapped in your pet’s paw pads.
    • Check for cracks in paw pads or redness between the toes. 
    • Booties can be effective in covering and protecting paws when out on walks.
  • Do not shave your pet down to their skin and try not to bathe them as often during cold spells.
    • If your pet is long-haired, just trim them to minimize clinging ice balls, salt crystals and de-icing chemicals that can dry out their skin.
    • Bathing too often can remove necessary essential oils and increase the chance of developing dry, flaky skin.
    • If you must bathe your pet, use a moisturizing shampoo and/or rinse recommended by your veterinarian.
  • Thoroughly clean up any antifreeze spills. 
    • Antifreeze is lethal for both dogs and cats.
    • Consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol.
    • Cold weather chemicals like ice melts can be dangerous when ingested, so always be mindful and keep chemicals up and out of paws’ reach.
    • If you suspect your pet has been exposed to any poisonous substances, contact your veterinarian immediately.
  • Keep your dog on the leash in snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm. 
    • Dogs can lose their scent in the snow and easily become lost.
    • Many dogs are lost during the winter season, so make sure your dog always wears an ID tag and consider visiting a veterinarian for a microchip implant.

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