Protect your pets in winter weather

When the weather gets cold, be sure your pet has a warm, dry place out of the elements to get warm. Here are some other tips:

Make sure doghouses are dry and draft-free, and small enough to hold a dog’s body heat but large enough so the dog can sit and lie down comfortably. The floor should be a few inches off the ground and covered with cedar shavings or straw. The door should be turned away from the wind and covered with a flap of heavy waterproof fabric or heavy plastic.

Remove snow and ice from your pet’s coat to prevent frostbite.

Check on your pet often; observe its behavior.

On very cold days, let the pet come indoors or to a heated place in the garage.

Feed your pets smaller portions of food more often (morning and late afternoon feedings) and be sure your pets have plenty of fresh water. Check the water often to make sure it doesn’t freeze.

Use only plastic water and food bowls outside; metal ones will stick and freeze to pets’ tongues.

Salt and other snow-melting chemicals can irritate pets’ feet. Wipe them down each time they come in the house.

Anti-freeze tastes sweet but is poisonous. Wipe up spills and keep the bottles out of reach of animals – and children, too.

If cats run free in your neighborhood, tap on your hood before starting your car. Cats often climb under the hoods of cars to get warm.