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Winter Weather Safety For Your Pets

Author: ServiceMaster Restore

When it comes to safety and preparedness, don’t forget your pets. Once you’ve made plans on how to prepare your family, and your home for the cold winter months, make sure to account for your pets too. Exposure to the winter’s cold, dry air, icy rain, sleet, and snow can cause chapped paws and itchy, flaking skin, but these aren’t the only discomforts pets can suffer. Winter walks can become dangerous from the chemicals in ice-melting agents. Use these tips from the experts at ServiceMaster Restore to protect your pets during the harsh winter weather.

Pet disaster preparedness: What you can do to keep them safe

Keep Pets Indoors When Possible. Don’t keep your pets outdoors for long periods of time during very cold weather. If it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pets.

Provide Outdoor Shelter For Your Pets. If you have outdoor dogs, make sure they have a dry, draft-free doghouse that has the following:

  • Large enough for pets to sit and lie down in, but small enough to retain their body heat.
  • Has a floor that is elevated a few inches off the ground and is covered with cedar shavings or straw.
  • Faces away from heavy winds and is covered with a flap of heavy waterproof fabric or heavy plastic.

Provide Extra Food & Water. Pets that spend time outdoors in the winter use a lot of energy to stay warm. Provide a little extra food and regularly check your pet’s water dish to ensure the water is fresh and not frozen. Use plastic food and water bowls instead of metal to prevent your pet’s tongue from freezing to them.

Use Leashes When Walking Near Water. Keep pets on a leash when walking near frozen bodies of water so they don’t run onto the ice. If a pet falls through the ice, do not go onto the ice to rescue them. If you can’t reach them from shore, call 911 or go for help.

Keep Antifreeze Out Of Reach From Pets. Many types of antifreeze have a sweet taste that can attract animals. Keep antifreeze out of reach from your pets and clean up any spills right away to avoid antifreeze poisoning.

Care For Your Pet's Paws. Salt and other chemicals used to melt ice and snow can harm your pet’s feet. Gently rub the bottom of your pet’s paws with a damp towel to remove these irritants after a walk during winter weather. You should also look for signs that your pet’s feet are uncomfortably cold, which could include them frequently lifting up their paws, or whining.

Don't Lock Pets In Cars. Never leave a pet locked inside a car during extremely cold weather. Cars can act like a refrigerator, holding in cold air and putting your pet at risk.

Keep A Collar And Id Tags On Your Pets At All Times. If you get separated from your animals, a collar or harness with appropriate ID tags can help reunite you after the worst happens. As with microchips, keep your pet’s ID tags updated with the correct information.

Create An Emergency Kit Specifically For Your Pet. When prepping for disaster, it’s essential that you have the proper supplies to stay safe if you have to leave home. After you assemble your own emergency preparedness kit, make one for each furry member of the family. A pet emergency preparedness kit should include at least the following items:

  • Food and water to last a minimum of three days
  • Food and water bowls
  • Disposable garbage bags for clean-up
  • Pet first aid kit
  • Extra collars or harnesses, leashes, and ID tags
  • Pet carriers
  • Photos of your pet for identification
  • Copies of vaccination records stored in a waterproof container
  • Any medications needed
  • Toys and other pet favorites for stress relief
  • Litter supplies for cats

Have An Evacuation Plan. An evacuation plan will help the whole family feel confident about what they should do if disaster strikes. In your plan, include details about who should be responsible for transporting the pets and grabbing the preparedness kits.

Remember that if it’s not safe for you to stay home, it’s not safe for your pets, either. If authorities require you to evacuate, you may not know when you can return home and check on your animals. Pets that are left to fare for themselves can easily be injured, lost, or worse. That’s why it’s so crucial to prepare well in advance of a storm to keep yourself, your family, and your beloved pets safe from harm. For more disaster preparedness tips, visit the ServiceMaster Restore blog today.

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