Protect Animals From Wintry Weather

May 10 00:00 2001 Print This Article

Cold weather can bring changes in animals' behavior, and safety precautions need to be taken to ensure a happy, healthy winter for cats and dogs. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) offers some advice to help keep pets cozy all season long:


Cats should be kept indoors during the winter. Outside, cats can freeze, become lost or stolen, or be injured or killed.

Outdoor cats sometimes choose to sleep under the hoods of cars, where it is warmer. When the motor is started, the cat can be injured or killed in the fan belt. Bang loudly on the hood of your car and wait a few seconds before starting the engine, to give a cat a chance to escape.


Dogs should be kept on a leash at all times, especially during a snowstorm. Dogs frequently lose their scent in snow and ice and easily become lost. It is important to thoroughly wipe off a dog's legs and stomach when she comes in out of the rain, snow or ice.

Dogs can be hurt by snow or ice encrusted in the sensitive paw pads, so be sure to check them when they come in from the cold. If a dog is sensitive to the cold due to age, illness or breed type, he should be taken outdoors only long enough to relieve himself.

Puppies do not tolerate cold as well as adult dogs and may be difficult to housebreak during the winter, so it may be necessary to paper train them inside.

Here are two important reminders for all pet owners:

  • Antifreeze, even in tiny doses, is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle. ASPCA has granted Prestone LowTox antifreeze/coolant its Seal of Approval because of the product's propylene glycol-based formula which provides an added margin of safety if accidentally ingested by pets or wildlife. Call your veterinarian or the ASPCA National Animal Poison Control Center (1-800-548-2423) if you suspect your animal has been poisoned.

  • Make sure your pet has a warm place to sleep, far away from all drafts and off the floor.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was founded in 1866 as the first humane organization in the Western Hemisphere. Today, the ASPCA continues to prevent cruelty and alleviate the pain, fear and suffering of animals through nationwide education, awareness, legal and legislative programs.

Source: ASPCA

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