Remember that Antifreeze smells and tastes sweet, but is a lethal poison for all animals. If you suspect one of your pets has ingested any amount of Antifreeze, immediately transport them to an emergency animal hospital. Dogs usually come into contact with antifreeze when it leaks from a car’s engine onto the ground, when it is spilled onto the ground while being added to a car’s engine, or when the container is left uncapped.
Salt and Ice-Melting Chemicals
The salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice can irritate the pads of your pet’s feet. Wipe all paws with a damp towel before your pet licks them and irritates his/her mouth. Use pet booties to minimize contact with salt, anti-freeze and chemical ice-melting agents. If your pet objects to booties, try applying a dollop of petroleum jelly to your pet’s paws before going outside to protect them.
Reporting an Animal Left in the Cold
If you encounter a pet left in the cold, politely let the owner know you’re concerned. If they don’t respond well, document what you see: the date, time, exact location and type of animal, plus as many details as possible. Video and photographic documentation (even a cell phone photo) will help bolster your case. The Humane Society does receive a high number of calls when winter strikes, so here are a few things to know before calling:
What is the address of the pet?
How long has the pet been outside?
How is the pet behaving?
Do you see any shelter for the pet?
Is food and water available?
If you have concerns about the condition of a pet, please call Animal Law Enforcement at (719) 473-1741.
Small Animals Seeking Warmth
Warm engines in parked cars attract cats and small wildlife, who may crawl up under the hood. To avoid injuring any hidden animals, bang on your car’s hood to scare them away before starting your engine.
If your pet is outside much of the day, they should have access to a draft-free shelter that is large enough to allow the dog to sit and lie down comfortably but small enough to hold in his/her body heat. The floor should be raised a few inches off the ground and covered with cedar shavings or straw, and the doorway should be covered with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic.
If you live in an area with local, stray cats, please consider building them a shelter out of plastic storage bins or Styrofoam coolers. These materials are waterproof and inexpensive, and small enough for a cat’s body heat to keep it warm. Thick straw bedding inside the shelter acts as a wind-breaker and insulator, while allowing cats to “nest” and curl up into heat-conserving positions. Straw will also keep the cats paws dry and off of the shelter’s floor, where water could pool.
Information sourced from the ASPCA and Humane Society.