Chilled to the bone: How to protect your pets from winter weather


Dog in snow

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This wave of cold weather has been an icy nightmare. And stepping out in 10 layers of clothing is no easy feat. But while you’re deciding on two sweaters or three, look down at your feet.

Even though your pets were blessed with their own built-in winter coats, you still need to take special precautions when it comes to their safety during these frigid months. The ASPCA has got your cold-weather tips to keep Fluffy and Fido safe and warm this winter.

  • Make sure they stay inside. Even if your cats like to hang outdoors, they can freeze, get lost or stolen, injured or killed in the cold.

  • Before you get in your car, bang on your hood before starting the engine. Outdoor cats sometimes sleep under the hood and can be injured or killed by the fan belt once the car is started.

  • Keep your dog on the leash in the snow. They can lose their scent and become lost.

  • Clean your dog’s legs and stomach after coming in from the snow to remove salt and antifreeze. Call Animal Poison Control at (888) 426-4435 if your pet has ingested anything.

  • Keep paws dry, and check for cracks in paw pads and redness between toes. Booties can minimize contact with salt crystals, antifreeze and chemical ice-melting agents. You can also massage petroleum jelly into your pet’s paw pads before and after going outside — this will moisturize and protect them.

  • Keep your dog nice and fluffy in the winter. If you own a short-haired pup, buy a coat or sweater with a high collar.

  • Do not leave your pet in the car alone.

  • If your dog loves to play in the snow, make sure to give him more food.

  • Keep your pets off the cold floor and away from drafts while they sleep.