‘Don’t leave them outside’: Pet safety vitally important in cold, snowy weather

METHUEN, MASS. (WHDH) - Animal safety is important for pet owners at this time of year, especially with brutally cold temperatures here to stay and snow on the way.

When temperatures drop below 20 degrees, experts say pet safety must be taken seriously.

“Hypothermia can set in fairly quickly,” Meaghan O’Leary of the MSPCA at Nevins Farm said.

Experts say put sweaters and boots on your dog if they will tolerate the clothing.

O’Leary also recommended buying pet safe ice melt, in addition to washing their paws to avoid cracks.

The same rules apply for cats.

“Just don’t leave them outside,” O’Leary said. “Keep them in the house where they want to be warm.”

With blizzard and winter storm warnings posted for much of Massachusetts, the Animal Rescue League of Boston is reminding pet owners that law prohibits excessive tethering when such weather advisories have been issued.

The bottom line, if it’s too cold for you to be outside, it’s also too cold for your pet to be outside.

Here are some other tips to keep in mind to keep animals safe:

Prepare your dog for the elements. If you have a longer coat dog, let it grow out for the winter; for shorter coat dogs, sweaters, coats and booties can go a long way to protect your pooch.

Wipe off your dog’s paws and stomach. Chemicals used to treat sidewalks can irritate your dog’s paws, and can be poisonous if ingested. When coming in from the cold, clean and dry your dog’s stomach to keep them healthy.

Keep outdoor trips quick. Bathroom breaks or walks, keep it short and sweet and keep your pets indoors as much as possible.

Never leave your dog alone in a cold car. Temperatures inside a car can plummet when the engine is turned off. When going out, leave your animals at home.

Pay attention to your pet’s grooming and health. An animal with a matted coat cannot keep him or herself warm! Senior pets also suffer from increased arthritis pain in the cold, so check with your veterinarian on how to keep your pet comfortable.

Check under the hood. Cats love to warm up underneath the hood of a car, as the residual heat from the engine burns off. Always pound on the hood of your vehicle and do a quick visual check before starting the engine.

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