ASPCA Communications Manager
As severe winter weather and freezing temperatures threaten much of the country in the coming days, the ASPCA wants to remind pet owners that these types of weather conditions can be extremely dangerous for pets. The ASPCA urges pet owners to take extra steps to keep their pets safe as temperatures drop and many homes may be without adequate power and heat.
Below are life-saving tips for keeping pets safe from the effects of severe winter weather, as well as references from the ASPCA’s emergency preparedness expert.
• If it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet. During inclement weather, keep your pets inside where they can stay warm and safe, and consider giving short-haired or small dogs coats and booties to wear on short walks. Make sure your pet has a warm, dry place to sleep that is off the floor and away from drafts with extra bedding. If you notice symptoms of frostbite, such as discoloration, swelling, or skin ulcers, contact your veterinarian immediately.
After each walk, be sure to towel dry your pet and clean their feet and belly. During walks, your pet can step on ice, salt, and chemicals—which can be very painful and potentially dangerous if ingested. Remember to check for cracks in the paw pad or redness between the toes. Shoes can be useful in covering and protecting the toes while walking.
• Create a portable pet emergency kit in case you are trapped in your home or forced to leave. The kit should include essential items such as medical records, water, water bowls, pet food, and any necessary pet medications to last at least seven days. Make sure all pets wear collars and tags with up-to-date identification information. Never leave your pets behind if you evacuate. If you are without power at home, consider keeping your pet with a friend or family member and providing detailed instructions for care and contact information for their veterinarian.
• All pets, especially small and exotic pets, will need more food and water on cold days, especially if you have a power outage. Colder weather means more calories are expended to stay warm, and it’s important to stay properly hydrated. If you’re short on pet food, here’s a list of common foods you can mix with kibble or serve alone for dog or cat food.
• Be prepared in the event of a power outage. Determine well in advance which rooms in your home offer safe havens. These rooms should be free of windows, such as utility rooms, bathrooms and basements. Fill bathtubs and sinks ahead of time to ensure you have access to water during a power outage. Candles and pets can be a dangerous combination. Instead of candles, consider battery-powered lanterns, flashlights, and headlamps. Never use propane fuel or other portable outdoor heaters inside your home.
• During the winter, outdoor cats sometimes seek shelter under cars. Blow the hood of the car before starting the engine to give the cats a chance to escape.
Horses require special care during the winter including access to supplemental feed, lukewarm water, and adequate shelter out of the elements. Here are more tips on caring for horses in inclement weather.
ASPCA National Field Disaster Response Director said, “With freezing temperatures and arctic air expected to affect many areas across the country this coming weekend, keeping your pets in a potentially dangerous It is very important to prepare for the weather conditions and protect their health and well-being.” Response Team Susan Anderson said. “Taking precautions such as keeping pets safely indoors and making sure they have essential items, including extra food and water, in the event of a power outage can be lifesaving in dangerous situations. “