GREEN BAY AREA REGIONAL NEWS: Brown County

‘If you’re cold, they’re cold’: Keeping pets safe this winter

Local News

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) — It is a solid reminder as we head back into one of the coldest parts of the year.

“When it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for your pets,” said Shaina Allen, who works for the Wisconsin Humane Society.

She says it’s a good idea to keep walks to a minimum, or not at all depending how cold it really is.

Allen says there are simple things to do to make sure Fido stays safe.

“Putting down some hay helps. It can be a little barrier between the snow and their paws,” she said.

The same way we shouldn’t leave our pets in hot cars in the summer, the same goes for winter. It can be just as dangerous for them, Allen added.

When they head back inside after being out, check their paw pads. It can be a quick glimpse into potential problems.

“Check for snow, ice, salt, even snow. It can get caught between their paw pads and even cause them to bleed if you don’t catch it fast enough.”

Ultimately, you know your animal best. So pay attention to small signs that might signal something could be wrong.

“If they’re not acting normal, if they’re acting a bit lethargic, don’t have that same energy, anything like that, you’re gonna want to call your vet right away,” said Allen.

Maybe most important – something we should be doing year-round. Make sure they have a collar on and, if microchipped, your contact information is up-to-date.

“It’s common for pets to get lost in the snow and ice,” said Allen. “Their scent isn’t as easily followed.”

The Humane Society suggests if you see a dog in distress, or are worried about them in the cold, you should contact your local police department for help.

Here are some other tips provided by the Wisconsin Humane Society:

  • Keep your animals inside. Even Northern Breed dogs like Malamutes and Chow Chows need heated, comfortable shelter away from bitter cold temperatures and high winds to stay safe. Only take your dogs outside long enough to relieve him/herself and keep cats indoors at all times.
  • If you see spilled antifreeze, clean it up. The sweet taste of this lethal poison actually attracts animals. Use more animal-friendly formulations of products if possible, such as propylene glycol instead of ethylene glycol.
  • Always keep your dog leashed on snow and ice. Despite their powerful noses dogs often lose their scent in the snow and ice, and can easily become lost.
  • Never leave your companion animal alone in the car, especially in cold weather. The car can quickly become a refrigerator and your beloved animal can freeze to death.
  • When your dog comes in out of the rain, snow or ice, thoroughly wipe off his or her legs, feet and stomach. Salt and antifreeze can kill dogs, so it is very important that these harmful substances are wiped off before your dog has a chance to lick them off his or her own paws. The Wisconsin Humane Society sells booties that can be worn by dogs to help prevent salt and antifreeze from sticking to paw pads. Also, pay special attention to your canine’s paw pads. Snow and ice caught between the pads can make them bleed.
  • Before you start your car, beep your horn several times. Cats often look for warm places to rest, and the hood of your car or even underneath the vehicle might be options for them. By honking your horn, cats will be alerted to run away.
  • The cold weather typically means the furnace is cranked up. It’s dangerous for animals to rest under or near a radiator or other heating system. Consider placing an appropriate cover that is especially made for heating systems so animals can be safe from these areas. Also, find a warm place for your furry friend to sleep – away from heaters, but not near a cold draft.
  • For more information about the Wisconsin Humane Society, or to view a comprehensive list of animals currently available for adoption, visit www.wihumane.org.

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