Winter Weather Safety for Pets
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Winter Weather Safety for Pets
Author: Carly O'Malley, ASPCA

With temperatures falling to frigid levels across the country and Winter Storm Jonas rapidly approaching, the ASPCA is reminding pet owners that cold weather conditions can be particularly dangerous for pets. Below are the top safety tips pet owners should keep in mind as the temperature drops and snow piles up:

  • Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm. Dogs can lose their scent and easily become lost. More dogs are lost during the winter than during any other season, so make sure your dog always wears an ID tags. 
  • Thoroughly wipe your dog's legs, feet, and stomach when he comes in after walking in sleet, snow or ice. He might ingest salt, antifreeze or other potentially dangerous chemicals while licking his paws, and his paw pads may also get cut and bleed from contact with snow or encrusted ice. 
  • If your large dog spends most of his time outside, take proper precautions during the colder months. Make sure your dog has an insulated and waterproof dog house and access to fresh water. And remember – if it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for your dog. Never leave your dog outside during a snowstorm or inclement weather including sleet, ice, snow, wind, or extreme cold.
  • Outdoor, stray and feral cats sometimes sleep under car hoods to stay warm. But the fan belt can injure or kill a cat when the motor starts. To avoid catastrophe: Bang loudly on your hood before starting the engine to give the cat a chance to escape.
  • Consider giving short-haired or smaller dogs a coat to wear outside to protect them from the elements and the chilly temperature. Also consider putting pet booties on your dog’s feet for added protection from the harsh conditions. 

To read or share more tips, check out the ASPCA’s cold weather pet care infographic here.