Jul 29, 2014
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Winter Storm Safety for Your Pets

Here are 8 tips - from potty breaks to emergency vet care - to help keep your pets out of harm's way during extreme winter weather.

Winter Storm Safety for Your Pets Winter Storm Safety for Your Pets

Winter Weather Pet Tips

1. Potty breaks. When the snow is deep, no one wants to go do their business out in the snow, pets included. To help with the inevitable, keep a small area in the yard shoveled and encourage your pet to use that spot by shoveling a walkway directly to it and staying close by while they use it.

2. Beware of cats sheltering under cars. In cold weather, cats often seek shelter anywhere they can squeeze into. Cats may seek the protection found in your car's engine compartment. Please remember to bang on your engine before starting it!

3. Antifreeze is deadly. Some pets are drawn to the thick, sweet taste of antifreeze. Sadly, it can kill a pet in a few licks. Keep antifreeze and other potential pet poisons tightly sealed and well out of your pet's reach. Because a cat can ingest antifreeze by walking through it and licking it off her paws, ensure your car is not leaking antifreeze.

4. Watch for signs of hypothermia. Signs of pet hypothermia, according to Pet WebMD, include the following:

  • violent shivering
  • listlessness 
  • weak pulse 
  • lethargy 
  • muscle stiffness 
  • problems breathing 
  • lack of appetite 
  • coma 
  • cardiac arrest  

Wrap your pet in a warm blanket and call your vet immediately if you notice the signs of hypothermia.

5. Know what frostbite on your pet looks like. Pet WebMD notes you should look for the following indicators:

  • pale, gray, or blue skin at first 
  • red, puffy skin later 
  • pain in ears, tail, or paws when touched 
  • skin that stays cold 
  • shriveled skin 

Call your vet immediately and be gentle with the affected areas if you notice signs of frostbite on your pet.

6. Bring your pets indoors. It goes without saying, try to keep your pet indoors as much as possible during winter storms like the major snow storm hitting Connecticut and the Northeast this weekend. 

When there is extreme winter weather, it's vital to keep younger, older and sick pets indoors as they are more susceptible to freezing temperatures.

7. Here's a list of local vet hospitals to keep handy. 

  • Ellington Center Animal Clinic, 64 Main St., Ellington, 860-871-3064
  • Four Town Veterinary Hospital, 495 South Rd., Somers, 860-763-0847
  • Tri-Town Animal Hospital, 93 West Rd., Ellington, 860-871-0826
  • Somers Veterinary Hospital, 63 South Rd., Somers, 860-763-1000

EMERGENCY AFTER HOURS VET:  Bolton Veterinary Hospital, 222 Boston Tpke., Bolton, 860-646-6134

8. For additional pet safety information, visit the following websites.

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