ASPCA Offers Winter Safety Tips To Pet Owners

When the weather outside turns cold and snowy, The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals reminds you to think about your pet's safety and recommends the following guidelines to protect your companion animal:

You can also download the ASPCA Hot and Cold Weather Tips in Adobe Acrobat.

Antifreeze, even in very tiny doses is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Unfortunately, because of its sweet taste, animals are attracted to it. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle. To prevent accidental poisoning; more and more people are using animal friendly products that contain propylene glycol rather than traditional products containing ethylene glycol. Call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (1-888-4ANI-HELP) if you suspect your animal has been poisoned.

You can also download the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center Antifreeze Safety Tips in Adobe Acrobat.

Keep your cats inside. Outdoor cats can freeze, become lost or stolen, injured or killed.

During the winter, outdoor cats sometimes choose to sleep under the hoods of cars where it is warmer. Before starting your car you should bang loudly on the hood and wait a few seconds to give the cat a chance to escape.

Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm. Dogs frequently lose their scent in snow and ice and can easily become lost. More dogs are lost in the winter than any other season, so make sure they always wear I.D. tags.

Thoroughly wipe off your dog's legs and stomach when they come in out of the sleet, snow or ice. Salt, antifreeze or other chemicals could hurt your dog if ingested while licking their paws.

If you have a shorthaired breed, consider getting a warm coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck for your dog. Look for one that covers the dog from the base of the tail on top to the belly underneath. While this may seem like a luxury, it is a necessity for many.

Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during the cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold. Your companion animal could freeze to death.

If your dog is sensitive to the cold due to age, illness or breed type, take them outdoors only long enough to relieve themselves.

Puppies do not tolerate the cold as well as adult dogs and may be difficult to housebreak during the winter.

If your dog spends a lot of time engaged in outdoor activities, increase their supply of food, particularly protein, to keep their fur thick and healthy.

Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep and is far away from drafts and off the floor. You should consider a dog or cat bed or basket with a warm blanket or pillow in it.

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