January 21, 2016

Winter Weather Is Upon Us—Are You and Your Pets Prepared? Read Our Safety Tips

Winter Weather is Upon Us—Are You and Your Pets Prepared? Read Our Safety Tips

With a major winter storm threatening much of the East Coast, we’d like to remind pet parents that cold weather conditions can be particularly dangerous for pets. Below are safety tips pet parents should keep in mind as the temperature drops and the snow piles up:

  • Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm. Dogs can lose their scent in the snow and easily become lost. More dogs are lost during the winter than during any other season, so make sure your dog always wears an ID tag.  
  • Thoroughly wipe your dog's legs, feet and stomach after walking in sleet, snow or ice. He might ingest salt, antifreeze or other potentially dangerous chemicals while licking his paws, and his paw pads may also get cut and bleed from contact with snow or encrusted ice. 
  • If your large dog spends most of his time outside, take proper precautions during the colder months. Make sure your dog has an insulated and waterproof dog house and access to fresh water. And remember—if it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for your dog. Never leave your dog outside during a snowstorm or inclement weather including sleet, ice, snow, wind, or extreme cold.
  • Bang loudly on the hood of your car before starting the engine.  Outdoor, stray and feral cats sometimes sleep under car hoods to stay warm, but the fan belt can injure or kill a cat when the motor starts. Banging on the hood can help avoid catastrophe and give the cat a chance to escape.
  • Consider giving short-haired or smaller dogs a coat to wear outside to protect them from the elements and chilly temperatures. Also consider putting pet booties on your dog’s feet for added protection from the harsh conditions. 

Click here to download or print our full cold weather guide [PDF].

For more cold weather safety tips, please visit the ASPCA’s Pet Care section. If you see an animal outdoors and in need of assistance in cold temperatures, please contact your local shelter or law enforcement agency