IFAW offers cold weather tips for your pets

Wednesday, 19 January, 2005
Yarmouthport, MA
Winter presents many hidden dangers for pets and with the cold weather in full force this week; IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare – www.ifaw.org) would like to share these tips for keeping your pets happy and healthy.
· Keep all pets indoors during the cold weather as much as possible. Animals can get frostbite if they are left outside for long periods of time especially after sunset.
· Continue to walk dogs outdoors, but provide a sweater or coat for shorthaired and small dogs and bring your dog inside immediately if they start to shiver. Clip the long hair on the bottom of your dog’s feet to prevent build up of ice balls that can be painful and difficult to remove.
· If a dog does stay outside in the winter, a solid, insulated doghouse is vital. Use bedding such as cedar shavings or straw to ensure warmth in damp conditions. Provide water in plastic bowls and check it frequently to prevent freezing. Talk to your vet about adjusting your pet’s caloric intake for the winter.
· Road salt and other chemicals can be damaging to paws, and dangerous when ingested.  Wipe or wash your pet’s paws after being outdoors, or use specially made boots for dogs.  Use kitty litter or sand as a safe, environmentally friendly solution to salt. 

· Antifreeze is poisonous to pets and wildlife, however its sweet taste can attract curious animals. Clean up any spills and keep antifreeze out of reach when stored. Use non-toxic antifreeze, made with propylene glycol as a safer alternative.
· Bang on the hood of your car before starting the engine. Cats and wildlife may seek warmth and climb into the engine.
· Small pets such as birds, hamsters, guinea pigs, and mice need to be kept warm and out of drafts. Provide extra bedding and place cages away from doors and windows.

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Cynthia Milburn, Director, Animal Welfare Outreach & Education
Senior Advisor, Policy Development
Jan Hannah, Campaign Manager, Northern Dogs Project
Campaign Manager, Northern Dogs Project
Kate Nattrass Atema, Program Director, Community Animal Welfare
Program Director, Community Animal Welfare
Shannon Walajtys
Manager, Animal Rescue-Disasters