We have recently experienced extremely cold temperatures. Although the temperature has risen, we are not in the clear yet! Extreme temperatures, whether it is too hot or too cold, are unsafe for pets. Here are some tips on keeping your pets safe during these cold temperatures and ways you can help out other pets too!
Try to keep pets indoors and warm. Don't leave dogs or cats outside in the cold. If you still feel the pet needs a walk, keep it short! No matter what the temperature, the wind chill can be dangerous for pets, exposed skin on noses, ears, and paw pads can quickly freeze and suffer permanent damage.. Pets are sensitive to severe cold. They are at a higher risk for frostbite and hypothermia when they are outdoors during extreme cold conditions.
If your pet is an outdoor pet, make sure they have plenty of food and water. Pets that spend a lot of time outside need more food in the winter because keeping warm depletes energy. Check your pet's water dish regularly to make certain the water is fresh and unfrozen. Use plastic food and water bowls rather than metal; when the temperature is low, your pet's tongue can stick and freeze to metal.
Watch out for pets trying to keep warm under your car. Warm engines in parked cars attract pets that may crawl up under the hood to keep warm. To avoid injuring any hidden animals, bang on your car's hood to scare them away before starting your engine.
The salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice can irritate the pads of your pet's feet. Wipe all paws with a damp towel before your pet licks them gets these chemicals in their mouth. They do make pet friendly salt; using this around your house may be a good idea.
If you can, keep your pet inside as much as possible. Let outside pets into a garage or covered barn, somewhere away from the wind and blowing snow. If this is not possible, make sure they have a secure dog house to go into. Blankets and straw will help them stay warm, even if the area is unheated. If you see an outdoor pet that does not have the proper bedding or shelter to get though the cold weather, please call your local Animal Care and Control to report it.