HSPCA offers tips for cold weather and pets

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The Humane Society/HSPCA offers these tips for your pets during the winter:

  1. Keep your cat inside if you can. Outdoors, cats can freeze, become lost or stolen, injured or killed.
  2. During the winter, outdoor cats sometimes sleep under the hoods of cars. When the motor is stared, the cat can become injured or killed by the fan belt. To avoid death or injury, bang loudly on the car hood before starting the engine.
  3. Never let your dog off of the leash on snow or ice. Dogs can lose their scent and easily become lost. More dogs are lost during the winter than during any other season, so make sure yours always wears ID tags.
  4. Thoroughly wipe off your dog's legs and stomach when he comes in out of sleet, snow or ice. Road salt can be dangerous to animals.
  5. Never shave your dog down to the skin during winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth.
  6. 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.
  7. Puppies do not tolerate the cold as well as adult dogs, and may be difficult to train in the winter. You may opt to paper-train him inside.
  8. 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.
  9. Like coolant, antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle, and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol.
  10. Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, off of the floor and away for all drafts.  A cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.
  11. Active dogs and outdoor dogs may require a more calorie-dense food to help them fight the elements.