Winter cold can pose a serious health and safety issue for dogs and cats. To help keep pets warm and safe when the temperature drops, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals offers the following guidelines:
¢ Keep a pet cat indoors during cold weather, especially at night. A cat can freeze, become lost, injured or killed.
¢ Always keep a dog on a leash in snow and ice. During a snowstorm, a dog can become disoriented and lost. Also, make sure your dog always wears an identification tag.
¢ Wipe down thoroughly a dog's legs and stomach when it comes inside from the sleet, snow or ice. A dog can ingest salt, antifreeze or other potentially dangerous chemicals while licking his paws, and his paw pads may also bleed from snow or encrusted ice.
¢ Never leave a dog or cat alone in a car during cold weather. A car can quickly become a refrigerator in the winter, as it can retain cold air that can cause an animal to freeze to death.
¢ Increase a dog's supply of food, particularly protein, to keep the pet's fur healthy. Opportunities to exercise regularly outside during the winter can become a problem for pets, especially dogs that are normally very active.