24 Jan 15

5 Winter Safety Tips for Pets ...

by Nancy E. Hassel, LIPetPlace.com, All Photos in this article were taken by Nancy E. Hassel – Copyright Protected.

Here are 5 simple tips to help keep your pets safe and warm while enjoying the snowy weather.

1.) Protect your dogs paws. There are many pet boots and products on the market that you can put on your pet, have them wear to help them with keeping their paws from getting frost bite, chapped and sore. Also use pet friendly salt when putting salt down on your sidewalks and driveways. When you come inside, wipe your pets paws with a damp, warm clothe and check for any salt, rocks, cuts or scrap on their paws.  Towel them off to ensure their fur is dry before they settle in for a nap!

2.) For cats that are indoor/outdoor cats – during the very cold months keep them inside or at the very least limit their time outside. Cats can be easily injured slipping on an icy fence, accidentally ingesting antifreeze which is toxic to cats and dogs, and they may decide to climb up into a car to keep warm. (Note: Bang on your car hood before starting your car in the winter months in case your cat or a stray cat has climbed into the engine to keep warm.) Keeping them inside is best in the winter. If they seem bored being in, go out and get interactive cat toys and have fun with them inside while the snow comes down outside.

While there is no snow on the ground, it was about 10 degrees this day a neighbor cat left outside to fend for itself.

3.) When out for a long hike with your dog in the snow, be sure they have a properly fitted dog coat on if they don’t have their own natural double coat. Bring a first aid kit for pets with you just in case. Put a coating of Mushers Secret paw wax on their paws if they’re not wearing boots. Have up-to-date ID tags on them and always bring an extra collar or leash with you – you never know when you may need while out in the elements.  Keep your dog leashed and don’t let him venture out onto ANY ice. (Every year someone is on the news because they fell in trying to save or get their dog off the ice. For tips on how to train your dog to stay off the ice, click here).

4.) Check your pet from head to tail for any minor cuts or snow built up in their fur.  Check the tips of their ears, tails and paws to make sure they do not have frost bite. While more pet owners may be better at checking their pets in the summer months for fleas and ticks, make sure you still thoroughly check your pet regularly in the winter. Especially after a long walk or extended time in the cold.

5.) Dogs like humans can experience a bit of cabin fever during the cold, snowed in months. If your dog is bored, check out some fun and helpful ideas here. If you’re not exercising your pets as much in the winter, make sure you are reflecting that in their diets too. Overfeeding your pet during the cold months, while they have less exercise, will easily add lbs, which you don’t want!

Sadly, many dog owners on Long Island think it is ok to leave their pets chained up outside with very little shelter to protect them and keep them warm. (Suffolk County has an anti-tethering law – dogs can’t be tied out longer than 2-hours at a time) If you see a dog left outside chained up all the time, call the police and local animal control within your municipal animal shelter – they will respond.

However, we have many wonderful organizations that work with the owners to educate them, encourage them to bring their dogs inside and also help provide staw, dog coats and blankets and light weight tie outs. You can simply help by making a monetary donation or finding out what supplies they could use. See below for a list of organizations that you can help so they can continue their outreach programs:

Almost Home LI
Break the Chain Program
Guardians of Rescue
Paws Unite People (PUP)
People Advocating for Change (PAC)
RSVP Animal Welfare & Rescue Group
Shelter Link
Unchained New York

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