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Keep pets safe from c-c-c-cold

Andy Ouriel • Jan 10, 2015 at 8:34 PM

Animals also detest frigid atmospheres recently sweeping through north-central Ohio.

“When animals are left out in this kind of weather, they’re in danger,” Erie County Dog Warden Barb Knapp said. “Animals don’t deserve to be out in this type of weather. They need shelter.”

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals provided 10 tips on how to keep your pets safe during this brutally cold winter:

1. Keep cats inside: Felines staying outdoors during subzero temperatures can freeze. They can also become lost, stolen, injured or even killed. Cats who are allowed to stray are exposed to infectious diseases, including rabies from other cats, dogs and wildlife.

2. In the hood: Outdoor cats sometimes sleep under the hoods of cars. When the motor starts, 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.

3. Leash the beast: Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm. Dogs can  lose their scent and easily become lost. More dogs are lost during the winter than during any other season. Also make sure your dog wears identification tags.

4. Wipe it down: Thoroughly wipe off your pet’s legs and stomach when it comes in and out of the sleet, snow or ice. Animals, especially dogs, can ingest salt, antifreeze or other potentially dangerous chemicals when licking their paws or coming into contact with poisons in some other way.

5. Keep the fur: Never shave dogs down to the skin during winter. A longer coat will provide more warmth. When you bathe dogs in colder months, be sure to completely dry fur before they go outside. If you own a short-haired breed, consider buying a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck. The coat or sweater should span from a dog’s tail to belly.

6. Don’t lock it up: 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 cold air and causing animals to freeze to death.

7. Brief bathroom break: Puppies don’t tolerate the cold as well as adult dogs and may be difficult to housebreak during the winter. If your puppy appears to be sensitive to the weather, you may opt to train it inside. If your dog is sensitive to the cold due to age, illness or breed type, take it outdoors so it can “mark its territory” or “do its business.”

8. Fuel up on food: If your dog spends a lot of time outside, increase the supply of food — particularly protein — to keep it and its fur in tip-top shape.

9. Antifreeze can be anti-safe: Like coolant, antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle. Also consider using products containing propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol.

10. Tucked away: Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, preferably off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy bed made specifically for dogs or cats, complete with a warm blanket or pillow, is perfect.

(Note: This story was originally written one year ago, but the tips are still important)

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