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When Barks Turn to Brrrrs, Pay Careful Attention to Your Pets

North Shore Animal League America Pet Experts Offer Winter Safety

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Media & Communications Department
Phone: (516) 883-7900, Ext. 482
Mobile: (516) 528-7878

With cold snaps delivering frigid temperatures and dreaded wind chills, it’s wise to be aware of seasonal hazards that can threaten your beloved pets. The experts at Animal League America, the world’s largest no-kill animal rescue and adoption organization, urge pet owners to be mindful of the time their pets spend outdoors.

“It’s an animal owner’s obligation to ensure its safety at all times, but winter especially presents a unique set of challenges. With good preparation and knowledge, pets can be safe and comfortable over the season,” advises Mark Verdino, Vice President and Chief of Veterinary Staff.
Animal League America offers these tips:

1. Antifreeze and rock salt are poisonous to your pets. Keep these and other harmful chemicals out of your pet’s reach or path. For an extra measure of safety, ask your retailer about eco- and pet-friendly products.

2. Cats often take winter refuge under cars and can sometimes even make their way under the hood. Be sure the coast is clear before starting your engine.

3. Be sure to wipe your dogs’ feet (and stomach, with small dogs) after a winter walk. Rock salt or other ice-melting chemicals can cling to your pets’ fur and they can ingest these poisonous chemicals when cleaning themselves.

4. All pets need to be inside. Never leave your pet outside for extended periods of time, even in a doghouse. When the temperature drops, your pets can freeze to death. If you notice a pet being locked outside in the winter, be sure to report it to your local animal control facility.

5. Keep an eye on your pets’ water dish to ensure it did not freeze and make sure they have a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from drafts.

6. When bathing your dogs in the colder months, be sure to completely dry them before taking them out for a walk. If you own short-haired breed dogs, consider getting them  coats or sweaters.

7. Most people know not to leave their pets in a car in the summer, but the same goes for the winter. A car interior can get as cold as a refrigerator, and pets can easily freeze.

8. Check your dogs’ paw pads for ice balls. If your dogs are lifting their feet repeatedly or seems to be walking strangely, their feet are probably too cold or ice may be forming, which can cause frostbite.

9. Keep your pets groomed. Knotted or matted hair doesn’t adequately insulate. Brush your dogs’ hair regularly, especially in the wintertime.

10.  Adjust your pets’ diets as necessary. If your dogs spend a lot of time outside, they may need more calories in the winter to produce body heat. If your dogs spend most of their time indoors and have a decrease in activity, they may require fewer calories. When in doubt, always ask your vet about seasonal diet changes.

To learn more about keeping your pets safe and healthy at all times, visit

North Shore Animal League America - Home of the Mutt-i-gree® - headquartered in Port Washington, NY, is the largest no-kill animal rescue and adoption organization in the world. The Animal League reaches across the country to rescue, nurture and adopt 20,000 pets into happy and loving homes each year. Over the past decade, the Animal League saved over 200,000 lives and has saved 1,000,000 animals since its inception. “Like” us at, follow us at To learn more about animal rescue and welfare, visit

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