Cold Weather Tips
Frostbite and Snow Removal Salt:
Snow and salt should be removed from your pets' paws immediately. Rock salt, used to melt snow and ice, can irritate paw pads. Frostbitten skin is red or gray and may slough. Apply warm, moist towels to thaw out frostbitten areas slowly until the skin appears flushed. Contact your veterinarian as soon as possible for further care. Snow removal products should be stored out of the reach of pets and small children as their toxicity varies considerably.
Uneven, icy surfaces can slash dogs' paw pads and dogs can lose their scent and become lost during heavy snow, so make sure to keep your dog on a leash and always make sure they are wearing proper identification.
Without hard surfaces to act as a natural file, dogs' toenails grow longer in winter, so regularly clip your pet's nails.
Motor Vehicles and Antifreeze:
When the weather cools, cats like to sleep near a warm car engine, curling up on or under the hood. When the motor is started, the cat can be injured or killed by the fan belt. So be sure you know where your cat is and honk the horn or bang loudly on the car hood before starting your car.
Antifreeze can be lethal. It tastes sweet to pets and contains ethylene glycol, a toxic agent. So always clean up any antifreeze if it spills. Contact your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your pet has consumed antifreeze.
Never leave your dog or cat in a car during cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death.
It is best to keep pets indoors during the winter months, but if this is not possible, outdoor pets must be provided with shelter. A shelter should be no more than three times the animal's size. The door should face away from the wind. Their home should be elevated off the ground to prevent moisture accumulation and have a door of some kind to keep out winter winds, sleet, and snow. Shelters should be insulated or heated. Avoid blankets and straw - they can harbor fleas. Use cedar shavings for bedding instead.
To prevent dehydration, be sure your pet's water supply doesn't freeze. Water sources may be heated to permit constant access to unfrozen water; thermal units designed specifically for this purpose are readily available. And use a non-metal water dish to keep your pet's tongue from sticking. Outdoor pets require extra calories to keep warm. Feed your pet according to its needs when the temperature drops.
Shorten exercise walks for dogs when the temperature falls. Safe outdoor temperatures for pets vary by breed and size. Ask your veterinarian for a specific recommendation for your pet
Puppies do not tolerate the cold as well as adult dogs, and may be difficult to housebreak during the winter.
If your dog is sensitive to the cold due to age, illness or breed type, take him outdoors only to relieve himself.