NEENAH (NBC 26) — It's Winter Weather Awareness Week in Wisconsin, and as the temperature drops, it's important to know how to keep your pet safe.
“If you think it’s cold, they do too, their fur really doesn't do a whole lot for them,” said Lindsey Meier, Country View Animal Hospital manager. “When they have winter weather advisories for us, they’re the same for pets.”
The best way to keep pets safe from the cold is to keep them inside.
“Always keep your animals inside during inclement weather. If left outdoors, pets can freeze, become disoriented, lost, stolen, injured, or killed. Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm. Dogs can lose their scent and easily become lost. More dogs are lost during the winter than during any other season, so make sure your dog always wears an ID tag,” said Dr. Lori Bierbrier, DVM, Senior Medical Director, ASPCA Community Medicine.
If your pet needs to be outside for a long time, it's important to provide them with a warm, dry shelter.
“As long as they have a heated water bowl, they need to have access to water, and a covering with some sort of insulation inside,” said Talia Rice, Neenah Animal Shelter Coordinator.
However, the animal hospital doesn't recommend blankets or anything that can get wet.
“As the temperature changes, sometimes that can absorb that moisture and just create ice,” said Rice.
The winter months can be hard on your pets but exposure to the cold air isn't the only issue.
“The salt that the city puts down isn’t pet safe,” said Meier. “It can dry out their paws and even break them open and make them bleed.”
What's keeping you on the roads can actually be dangerous for your pets.
“Ice melts are a prevalent hazard and can cause chemical burns on paws. Antifreeze poisoning can pose a serious threat to pets if it’s ingested. Thoroughly wipe your dog's legs, feet, and belly when they come in after walking in sleet, snow, or ice to prevent ingestion of salt, antifreeze or other potentially dangerous chemicals while licking their paws,” said Dr. Bierbrier.
There are ways to check your pet's paw health.
“You can always check kind of in between here (paw pads) that there’s no salt or anything in there, if there’s any irritation. He should be able to let you touch his paws.” said Rice.
Keep you and your pets warm this winter and remember: temperature under 35, bring your pets inside!