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How to keep your pet safe during freezing temperatures

"It is imperative to remember that if you are cold, your outside pet is cold too."

The Forsyth County Sheriff's Office Animal Service Division is making it known that humans aren't the only ones that need to be kept safe during freezing temperatures, but animals as well! 

"It is imperative to remember that if you are cold, your outside pet is cold too. We are asking our community to protect and care for pets as the icy conditions and cold temperatures settle in our area. Winter weather can result in life-threatening situations for both humans and animals."

In order to help pet owners take the necessary precautions to help their pets stay safe when winter weather hits, they have compiled a list of steps. 

The following steps help animals survive cold weather:

  • Thoroughly wipe off your dog’s legs and stomach when he comes in out of the sleet, snow, or ice.  He can ingest salt, antifreeze, or other chemicals while licking his paws, and his paw pads may also bleed from exposure to snow or encrusted ice.
  • Consider getting your short-haired breed a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck that covers the dog from the base of the tail on the top to the belly underneath.  This may seem like a luxury, however to some breeds it is a necessity to stay healthy.
  • Adult dogs tolerate the cold much better than puppies. If necessary, paper train your puppy inside if he appears to be sensitive to the weather.
  • Increased food, particularly protein, will help keep your dog’s fur thick and healthy.  This is particularly important if your dog spends a lot of time engaged in outdoor activities.
  • Coolant, like antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats.  Be careful to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol.
  • Never shave your dog down to the skin in the winter.  Leave the coat longer to provide more warmth to your dog.  When you bathe your dog, completely dry him before taking him out for a walk.
  • Pets need a warm place to sleep away from all drafts and off the floor, such as in a dog or cat bed, with a warm blanket or pillow in it.
  • In the winter, outdoor cats sometimes sleep under the hoods of cars.  When the motor is started, the cat can be injured or killed by the fan belt.  Before starting the engine, bang loudly on the car hood to give the cat the chance to escape.
  • More dogs are lost during the winter than during any other season, so make sure that they always wear I.D. tags.  If you’re in Forsyth County, it’s the LAW!  Do not let your dog off the leash on snow or ice as dogs can lose their scent and easily get lost.
  • When evening weather conditions hover in the 20’s at night, your pet could suffer from hypothermia if there is not adequate shelter from the elements.  In some cases when there are wet conditions, it could be a matter of hours before symptoms of hypothermia set in.

The  Animal Service Division also revealed that residents of Forsyth County with an outside pet that needs shelter can reach out to the Forsyth Humane Society. They said UnChain Winston has a limited number of dog houses and straw bedding to give away.