Protect Your Pet During Cold Weather Many families want to know how they can keep their pet safe during cold weather months. There are a handful of good safety tips every owner should keep in mind. Adequate Shelter Remember that pets need adequate shelter from wind and rain when the temperatures drop. Older, chronically ill or debilitated pets may have more difficulty during cold weather. While the best course of action is to leave your pet inside during cold weather, if you must leave your pet outdoors, increase his or her food intake. When pets are exposed to cold weather, they require extra calories to stay warm. Icy Conditions Cold temperatures can freeze drinking water left outdoors. Your pet can also damage his or her paws trying to break through icy surfaces. In freezing temperatures, you need to check the water frequently or purchase a heater for your pet’s water bowl. Commute With Care Regular antifreeze (ethylene glycol) is attractive to pets because it has a sweet taste. Even in very small quantities, the ingestion of antifreeze can be fatal. Licking antifreeze off the floor of the garage is enough to be dangerous. Check your car for coolant leaks and clean up spilled antifreeze immediately. Optimally, use antifreeze-coolant made with propylene glycol, which won’t hurt pets, wildlife or family members. Roaming Cats Cats may climb onto vehicle engines seeking warmth during cold weather. Severe, sometimes fatal injuries can result from being struck by a moving fan belt. Be sure to knock on or check under the hood before starting your vehicle and honk the horn to startle any pets who may have sought shelter underneath your vehicle. Pets are Much Safer Indoors Your pet will be safer inside a home – especially in freezing, or close to freezing weather. Dogs need outside exercise but only for limited periods of time. De-icing chemicals (such as driveway or sidewalk salt) can be dangerous to pets even in small amounts of exposure. The salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice may irritate the pads of your pet’s feet. Wipe its feet with a damp towel each time you bring it inside, even if you don’t see salt on the walkways.