Suffolk County SPCA: Tips to Protect Your Pets From Extreme Cold

The Suffolk County Society For The Prevention Of Cruelty To Animals (SPCA) notes that the National Weather Service has issued a warning of heavy rain with gusty winds and then frigid temperatures through the weekend.
During this extreme cold, animals feel the same harsh winds, and freezing temperatures as we do. Animals need extra protection to survive the winter storm too. With the extreme cold in the area, it’s important to remember to bring your pets inside.
The SPCA askes to please make sure they’re safe and sound during this extreme weather. With a winter storm on its way, it’s time to be sure we are prepared to take proper care of our furry friends.
Always keep ID tags on pets, because animals can get lost during a winter storm. More pets are lost in the winter than any other time of the year. Pets can lose their ability to scent their way home in snow and icy conditions.
In addition, never leave pets unattended in the car without heat. Animals can freeze to death very quickly, and by [allowing this to happen], the pet owner becomes just as irresponsible as those who leave pets unattended in a car during summer’s unbearable heat.
The other basic rules are as follows:
  • Keep Cats Indoors: This prevents injury, frostbite, hypothermia, and death.
  • Be Alert to Frostbite: Skin can turn red, white or gray and scaly. If you suspect frostbite, contact your vet immediately.
  • Always Walk Dogs on a Leash: Dogs can become disoriented or lost. Roads are often dangerous during snow conditions due to snowplow piles and ice.
  • Be Aware of Sheltered Cats and Wildlife: Outdoor cats and other animals will often seek shelter beneath the hood of a car and can be killed by fans or belts. Bang on the hood or blow your horn before starting the car.
  • Be Aware of Exposure Time: Dogs who are ill, old, very young, or shorthaired cannot endure prolonged exposure to winter weather. Take them out only to relieve themselves. Coats or sweaters can help avoid problems for dogs that like to play in the snow. Many dogs need boots in winter weather, regardless of coat length. If your dog frequently lifts up his paws, whines or stops on his walks, his feet are uncomfortably cold and may need dog booties for his paws.
  • Keep Pets Dry: Never take your dog or cat out after a bath unless they are completely dry.
  • Have a Cleanup Routine: Keep a towel and maybe moist wipes by the door to clean dogs’ feet of salt, anti-freeze, and other harmful toxins. Road salt can irritate or burn, as well as cause vomiting and in some pets can even cause seizures. Antifreeze has a sweet, attractive smell to pets and can be deadly if ingested. Keep paws, bellies, and legs clean to avoid problems.
  • Keep Pets Warm: Always keep beds slightly elevated and away from cold drafts.
  • If you have bunnies who live outside, make sure they have a warm, dry hutch with plenty of bedding that is out of the wind. Water is important too as is some extra food. Cover the hutch with a tarp.
  • During this winter storm bring your pet inside.
  • Remember animals get cold just like you.
  • In Suffolk County, you cannot tether, leash, secure, tie, pen or confine a dog outside when the temperature is below 32° Fahrenheit.
Remember this is the law and will be enforced! If you feel cold so does your pet.
“Protecting Suffolk County’s animals is the only job we do!”

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