February 2, 2017

Preparing Your Pets for Cold Weather

February 2nd, 2017

Eugene, Ore. — A special winter weather advisory has been issued for the Willamette Valley for freezing rain with lows in the 30s tonight. Greenhill offers guidelines to protect your furry companions in cold weather.

  • Keep your felines inside. Outdoors, cats can freeze, become lost or be stolen, injured or killed.
  • During 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. If there are outdoor cats in your area, bang loudly on the car hood before starting the engine to give the cat a chance to escape.
  • Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm – dogs can lose their scent and easily become lost. Make sure your pets always wear ID tags and are microchipped.
  • 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 potentially dangerous chemicals while licking his paws; his paw pads may also bleed from snow or encrusted ice. Consider dog boots or a thick dog safe paw pad salve to protect tender pads in the cold.
  • Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth. When you bathe your dog in the colder months, be sure to completely dry her before taking her out for a walk. Own a short-haired breed? Consider getting her a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly.
  • Like coolant, antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle, and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol. If you think your pet has ingested a toxin, contact your veterinarian immediately.
  • Dogs and cats are social animals who crave human companionship. Take your dog outside for walks and exercise but keep him inside the rest of the time. Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is purr-fect.
  • If you encounter a pet left in the cold, document what you see: the date, time, exact location and type of animal, plus as many details as possible about the situation. Video and photographic documentation (even a cell phone photo) will help bolster your case. Then contact your local animal welfare agency (list below)* and present your evidence.

For pets who spend any time outdoors

  • Always provide access to fresh drinking water, and make sure the water has not frozen. Use plastic bowls outside rather than metal; when the temperature is low, your pet’s tongue can stick and freeze to metal.
  • Be sure to provide a well-insulated enclosure or dog house for pets to rest inside. This area should be dry, elevated and have a flap over the opening to keep drafts out.   Also consider adding a thermal pad or heating disk labeled “safe for pets.”

*Local animal welfare offices.
• Cottage Grove – Humane Society of Cottage Grove: (541-942-3130)
• Eugene – Eugene Animal Services: (541-687-4060)
• Unincorporated Lane County – Lane County Animal Services: (541-682-3645)
• Springfield – Springfield Animal Control/Police Dept.: 344 A Street (541-726-3634)
• Veneta – Veneta Animal Control/City Hall: 88184 8th street (541-935-2191)