Winter pet protection tips

Here are tips to consider to keep both you and your pets safe and comfortable this winter:

Check the hood of your car. Felines often sleep in wheel wells for warmth.

If your cat is an outdoor community cat, offer shelter. Amazon has heated cat houses or you can provide them with a dry, draft-free shelter that the cat can move around in freely, stuffed with straw and raised a few inches off the ground.

Provide extra food and water. Pets, like humans, deplete energy in keeping warm. Check bowls often for freezing.

If you walk your dog make sure both of you have reflective material on. Obey the leash laws. Keep your dog on a leash that is made for his size and strength. Cloth and leather leashes are a safer choice versus a retractable. Understand the wind chill: it impacts humans and pets alike. Bundle them up too. Go for shorter walks, leave them at home and not in the car, and know that pets are prone to hypothermia and frostbite just like you!

Watch for chemicals used to melt ice. Use a damp towel to gently wipe paws before the pet attempts to clean their own paws. Remove and wipe up any coolants and antifreeze; these are extremely harmful to any family member.

If you believe an animal is being neglected or you have concerns about care, you can speak out or contact authorities who will investigate, advise, document and follow up.

Always include your pets in your emergency plans. This includes having extra food, water, medications and an emergency kit.