Cold-weather tips for your pet

As temperatures fall (and so does snow) it is important to remember to keep animal companions safe from the cold.

The Lynnwood-based PAWS recommends the following, shared from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA):

  • Keep your cat inside. Outdoors, cats can freeze, become lost or stolen or become injured or killed.
  • Outdoor cats sometimes sleep under the hoods of cars to keep warm. When the motor is started the cat can be injured or killed. To prevent this, bang loudly on the hood to give a sleeping cat a chance to escape.
  • Never let your dog off leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm. Dogs frequently lose their scent in snow and ice and become lost. They may panic in a snowstorm and run away. More dogs are lost during the winter than any other season.
  • Thoroughly wipe off your dog’s legs and stomach when he or she comes in out of the rain, snow or ice. Check the sensitive paw pads, which may bleed from snow or ice encrusted in them. Salt, antifreeze or other chemicals could hurt dogs if they ingests them while licking their paws.
  • Provide a warm coat or sweater for your dog is a short-haired breed. Look for one with a high collar or turtleneck that covers your dog from the base of their tail on top to the belly underneath. While this may seem like a luxury, it is a necessity for many dogs.
  • If your dog is sensitive to the cold due to age, breed type or illness, only take the dog outside long enough for a bathroom break.
  • Puppies do not tolerate the cold as well as adult dogs and may be difficult to housebreak during the winter. If necessary, paper train your puppy inside if he or she appears to be sensitive to the weather.
  • If your dog spends a lot of time engaged in outdoor activities, increase the dog’s supply of food, particularly protein to keep fur thick and healthy.
  • Antifreeze, even in tiny doses, is lethal to cats and dogs. Because of its sweet taste, animals are attracted to it. Thoroughly clean up any spills from your car. To prevent any accidents, use animal-friendly products that contain propylene glycol rather than the traditional products containing ethylene glycol. Call your veterinarian or contact the ASPCA Poison Control Center at 800-548-2423 if you believe your pet has been poisoned.
  • Never shave your dog down to the skin during winter. Leave the dog’s coat longer, which provides more warmth. Longer fur requires frequent brushing due to dry winter air and static electricity. When you bathe your dog, make sure the animal is completely dry before taking him or her for a walk.
  • Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep far away from all drafts and off the floor, like in a dog or cat bed, with a warm blanket or pillow.


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