CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency wants to remind you that when it comes to winter preparedness, do not forget about your pets.
According to Mass.gov, winter walks can become dangerous, whether its exposure causing chapped paws or pets licking dangerous chemicals from ice-melting agents.
To help prevent cold weather dangers from affecting your pet’s health, Mass.gov says follow these tips:
Keep pets indoors when possible
- If it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pets.
- Don’t keep your pets outdoors for long periods of time during very cold weather.
- Short-coated dogs may need a coat or sweater during walks.
Provide outdoor shelter for your pets
- If you have outdoor dogs, make sure they have a dry, draft-free doghouse.
- The doghouse should be large enough for pets to sit and lie down in, but small enough to retain their body heat.
- Make sure the doghouse has a floor that is elevated a few inches off the ground and is covered with cedar shavings or straw.
- The entrance should be facing away from heavy winds and is covered with a flap of heavy waterproof fabric or heavy plastic.
Care for your pet’s feet
- Salt and other chemicals used to melt ice and snow can harm your pet’s feet.
- Gently rub your pet’s paw with a damp towel to remove irritants after a walk.
- Consider buying dog boots to prevent paw irritation
- Look for signs that your pet’s feet are uncomfortably cold, which could include them frequently lifting up their paws, whining, or stopping.
Provide extra food and water
- Provide extra food for pets who are outside.
- Regularly check on your pet’s water dish to see if its fresh and not frozen.
- Use plastic food and water bowls instead of metal to prevent your pet’s tongue from freezing to them.
Use leashes when walking near bodies of water
- Keep pets on a leash when walking near frozen bodies of water so they don’t run onto the ice.
- If a pet falls through the ice, do not go onto the ice to rescue them.
- If you can’t reach your pet from shore, call 9-1-1 or go for help.
Do not lock pets in cars
Never leave a pet locked inside a car during extremely cold weather. Cars can act like a refrigerator, holding in cold air and putting your pet at risk.
Keep antifreeze out of reach from pets
Many types of antifreeze have a sweet taste that can attract animals. Keep antifreeze out of reach from your pets and clean up any spills right away to avoid antifreeze poisoning.
Check your vehicle before starting the engine
- Parked vehicles can attract cats and small wildlife, which may crawl under the hood seeking warmth.
- Bang on your vehicle’s hood to scare away animals before starting your engine.