Cold Weather Pet Care Tips

Brrrr…it’s cold outside! The Providence Animal Rescue League offers the following tips to help you protect your companion animals when the mercury dips.

ID is your pets' ticket home
More dogs are lost during the winter than during any other season. Make sure all pets wear collars & tags with up-to-date identification. It is easier for your pet to be lost in snowy weather so keep an eye on them at all times when outdoors.

Check your cars
During the winter, outdoor cats sometimes sleep under the hoods of cars. When the motor is started, the cat can be injured or killed by the fan belt. If there are outdoor cats in your area, bang loudly on the car hood before starting the engine to give the cat a chance to escape.

Check those paws
Thoroughly wipe off your pets legs and stomach when he comes in out of the sleet, snow or ice. He 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.

Keep haircuts to a minimum
Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth. Own a short-haired breed? Consider getting him a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly.

No pets in the car alone
Never leave your dog or cat alone 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.

Re-evaluate meals
Does your dog spend a lot of time engaged in outdoor activities? Increase his supply of food, particularly protein, to keep him—and his fur—in tip-top shape. Pets slow down in the winter? Cutting back on some calories may be needed to stop unwanted weight gain.

Clean up antifreeze spills
Like coolant, antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs & cats. Be sure to clean up any spills from your vehicle & consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol.

Prepare for an emergency
Be prepared to lose electricity or even evacuation. Keep a pet emergency kit and supplies handy with items such as medical records, water, food, first aid & medications. Prepare ahead and plan for a place to bring your pets in case of an emergency.