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Extreme Weather Tips

Keep Your Pooch Safe During the Impending “Cyclone Bomb” Winter Storm

Headlines everywhere are warning about extremely cold weather conditions ahead as a result of an impending “Cyclone Bomb” winter storm. Here are some tips for keeping your canine (and feline) safe.

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From Washington State to Washington, DC, most of the lower 48 states will be affected by freezing temperatures, meaning hundreds of millions of people need to be prepared for potential hazards, including keeping your pets out of harm’s way.

Best Friends Animal Society, a leading animal welfare organization working to end the killing of cats and dogs by 2025, offers the following tips to keep your pet as safe as possible:

Keep your pets inside during the storm, especially at night. Cats and dogs, even those with thick coats, can get frostbite on sensitive areas. Their paws, ears, and tail are the most common tissues to be affected, especially if wet. Provide pets with a heated, comfortable space.

Keep it short and sweet. If your pet needs to spend time outside during any part of the storm, make it for as short of a period as possible. Keep walks short, or if your pooch stays outside, provide a structure that’s raised up off the ground, has a door flap to keep out drafts, and is equipped with dry, comfortable bedding.

For outdoor water containers, use plastic instead of metal bowls and buckets. Your pet’s tongue may stick to metal, and they could injure themselves when trying to pull away. Be sure to dump out any ice and refill the water as often as necessary. Pets won’t lick ice or eat snow when they’re thirsty, so they need to have water available. Another option is to purchase a heated water bowl for outdoor use.

Many dogs, particularly those with short coats, will be more comfortable outside if they have a sweater. If your dog frequently lifts his paws, whines or stops during walks, it is probably because his or her feet are uncomfortably cold. Boots can protect paws from the cold and irritating salt that may be used on streets.

Chemicals and salt solutions used to melt snow and ice can injure or irritate the pads of your pet’s feet and may be harmful if ingested. Gently wipe their feet with a damp towel before your pet has a chance to lick them. A balm for your pet’s paws is also a good remedy.

Be particularly careful when taking older or arthritic animals outside. They will likely become stiff and tender quickly and may find it difficult to walk on the snow or ice. Keep them close to your side when walking on ice to avoid a slip-and-fall accident.

Don’t let dogs off the leash during a snowstorm. No matter how much they want to play in the snow, they can easily lose their scent and become lost. Make sure dogs are wearing ID tags and are microchipped before you take them out, snow or not.

If you don’t have a pet and are considering opening your home to a new furry companion, now is the time due to overcapacity issues in shelters. Every time you adopt, you are saving two lives: the life of the pet you are bringing home, as well as opening space for another homeless dog or cat to be taken in by shelters and rescue groups.

About Best Friends Animal Society. Best Friends Animal Society is a leading animal welfare organization working to end the killing of dogs and cats in America’s shelters by 2025. Founded in 1984, Best Friends is a pioneer in the no-kill movement and has helped reduce the number of animals killed in shelters from an estimated 17 million per year to around 355,000. Best Friends runs lifesaving programs all across the country, as well as the nation’s largest no-kill animal sanctuary.

Working collaboratively with a network of more than 4,000 animal welfare and shelter partners, and community members nationwide, Best Friends is working to Save Them All®. For more information, visit bestfriends.org.

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