Protect your pets during winter storm

3:59 PM, Feb 11, 2014   |    comments
Annette Attaway's four-legged friend, Taken in Flowery Branch, Ga.
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Don't forget to protect your pets during the winter storms expected to hit the metro Atlanta area this week.

Banfield Pet Hospital provided these tips for your furry friends:

• Don't leave pets outside when the temperature drops below freezing. Pets are safer indoors in freezing weather. Dogs need outside exercise but only for limited periods - be attentive to body temperature and limit time outdoors, especially to prevent frostbite on ears and feet. If you suspect frostbite, seek veterinary attention.

• De-icing chemicals may be hazardous. The salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice may irritate the pads of your pet's feet. Wipe the feet with a damp towel every time when coming in from outdoors.

• Antifreeze is deadly poison, it has a sweet taste that can be fatal if swallowed. Even antifreezes formulated with propylene glycol can be dangerous to pets. If you see your pet ingesting antifreeze or suspect that they may have had access, seek veterinary attention immediately.

• Provide plenty of food and water. It takes more energy and calories in the winter to regulate your pet's temperature. Especially if your pet spends significant time outside. Discuss your pet's nutritional requirements with your veterinarian.

• Indoor pets may need extra monitoring as well. Some pets, such as reptiles or tropical fish may be temperature-sensitive to cold air. Pay attention to room temperatures to ensure that these pets don't get chilled.

• Roaming cats: Cats may climb onto vehicle engines seeking warmth during cold weather. Severe, sometimes fatal injury can result from being struck by a moving fan belt. Be sure to knock on or check under the hood before starting your vehicle and honk the horn to startle any pets who may have sought shelter underneath your vehicle.

• Icy conditions: Cold temperatures can freeze drinking water left outdoors. Your pet can also damage its paws trying to break through icy surfaces. In freezing temperatures you need to check the water frequently or purchase a heater for the water bowl.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals offered some advice, including:

• Keep an eye out for stray animals. Take unidentified animals indoors until you can find their guardians or take them to an animal shelter. If strays are skittish or otherwise unapproachable, provide food and water and call your local humane society for assistance in trapping them and getting them indoors.

• If you see animals left outside without shelter from the elements, please notify authorities.

Related links:

Driver checklist: Things you should do before the storm

Current list of closings and delays

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