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Winter Safety Tips for your Pet

Posted Feb 02 2009 5:47am
orth Shore Animal League America Experts Offer Winter Tips for Your Pets

– Winter can be a marvelous time of year, especially for pets who love the outdoors. However, we must not forget the hazards that this season brings for our best friends. The pet experts at North Shore Animal League America , the world’s largest no-kill animal rescue and adoption organization, urge pet owners to be mindful of the time their pets spend in the frigid outdoors.

Here are some tips to help keep your pets safe and comfortable:
1. Antifreeze and rock salt are poisonous to your pets. Make sure to keep these and other harmful chemicals out of your pet’s reach or path. For an extra measure of safety, ask your retailer about eco-and-pet-friendly products.
2. Feral and stray cats often take winter refuge under cars and can sometimes even make their way under the hood. Make sure the coast is clear before starting your car.
3. Be sure to wipe your dog’s feet (and stomach, with small dogs) after a winter walk. Rock salt or other ice melting chemicals can cling to your pet’s fur and he can ingest these poisonous chemicals when cleaning himself.
4. ALL PETS NEED TO BE INSIDE. Never leave your pet outside for extended periods of time, even in a doghouse. When the temperature drops, your pet can freeze to death. If you notice a pet being locked outside in the winter, be sure to report it to your local animal control facility.
5. Keep an eye on your pet’s water dish to ensure it did not freeze.
6. Short-coated dogs are especially vulnerable to the cold and shouldn’t be outside unattended for too long a time span.
7. Most people know not to leave their pets in a car in the summer, but the same goes for the winter. A car interior can get as cold as an ice box and a pet can easily freeze.
8. Check your dog’s paw pads for ice balls. If your dog is lifting his feet a lot or seems to be walking strangely, his feet are probably too cold or ice may be forming which can cause frostbite.
9. Keep your pet groomed. Knotted or matted hair doesn’t insulate properly. Brush your dog’s hair regularly in the wintertime especially.
10. Adjust your pet’s diet as necessary. If your dog spends a lot of time outside, he may need more calories in the winter to produce body heat. If your dog spends most of his time indoors and has a decrease in activity, he may require fewer calories. When in doubt, always ask your vet about seasonal diet changes.

For more information on the North Shore Animal League, visit
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