1. Remember: if we're cold, our pets are probably cold.
Winter can be hazardous for our beloved pets if we do not consider the risks of cold weather and its impacts. Even when our pets love being outside, frostbite and hypothermia are deadly threats and we must let them out for only short periods of time. Thinking that "they have fur coats" is extremely short sited, and we need to outfit them with jackets, sweaters, and even booties. Thinner, older, younger, or short-haired pets are more susceptible to the elements.
2. Remember: Buy and use pet-safe antifreeze, de-icers, and pavement "salts."
Winter brings out all different types of deadly chemicals such as antifreeze, de-icers, windshield fluids, and salt. Keep all these items stored where our pets can't get into them, cleaned off garage or driveway surfaces, and cleaned off their paws. Wipe and even wash their paws and undersides after returning home and check carefully to make sure they don't have any injuries caused by the chemicals or icy walks. Don't let them lick their paws or tummies until you are completely certain that all toxic chemicals have been removed.
3. Remember: Keep our pets away from ice and frozen ponds, lakes, streams, or rivers.
Ice cannot only cause injury to the paws but poses an extreme danger on frozen water reservoirs of any type. Our animals can be killed when thin ice breaks and they fall through. Avoid ice no matter where it is!
4. Remember: Use a leash when we go on walks.
Keeping our pets safe is our number one priority. By using leashes, we are able to keep our pets close and unable to run into unsafe areas such as roadways or onto thin ice.
5. Remember: Use reflective clothing and equipment when walking early in the morning or after dark.
6. Remember: Leave our pets at home.
Our pets can become subject to extreme temperatures if left unattended outside or in our vehicles. It is much better and safer for our pets to be "cozied up" inside a warm home than left in an unattended cold vehicle. Going everywhere is fun but can become a dangerous threat to their well being.
7. Remember: Provide shelter.
Protection from the harsh elements of winter is imperative. Even if our pets live primarily outside, they need to be shielded from sub-zero temperatures, winds, and winter storms. An appropriately sized enclosure needs to be dry and warm with a surface of straw or bedding. Its doorway needs to be covered and away from the blowing winds. Pet doors installed in our homes are great for letting our pets in when we aren't at home.
8. Remember: Feed more!
Our pets need to have more "fuel" in order to be able to stay warm, especially if they spend time outside. We also need to check water bowls and use bowls that our pets' tongues won't freeze to.
9. Remember: Bang the hood of our cars.
Small animals may seek shelter in the engines of our cars. Bang the hoods of our cars to make sure no kitty, squirrel, etc. are up inside.
10: Remember: Think about our wildlife.
We need to make sure that our bird feeders are full. We can also provide extra shelter for birds by placing our Christmas trees on their sides at the base of the feeders. All our wildlife can benefit from us sharing some of our resources with them and buying some wildlife feed.