While South Texas doesn’t have much of a winter, it does get cold from time to time and temperatures have been known to drop well below freezing. For dogs and cats, cold weather poses special problems.
The best advice is to bring your pets in for the night when cold weather threatens.
Even if she’s out for a short period of time, salt used to melt ice on walks and driveways can be an irritant to doggy and kitty paws. Better to use kitty litter on icy patches. It works to reduce the hazard of slipping and it is nontoxic to dogs and cats.
Beware if you store antifreeze in and around your house because it is highly toxic, especially to cats. Antifreeze tastes sweet to animals and thus is attractive to them. But even a small amount can cause kidney failure.
According to the SPCA, there is a less toxic alternative to ethylene glycol based antifreeze. So-called “pet friendly” antifreeze is propylene glycol based and is available at many retail outlets.
Remember on a cold night, and outdoor cat may crawl up into the engine compartment of a car or truck looking for a warm place to sleep. Experts suggest you tap the hood of your vehicle before you get in and honk the horn a couple of times before you start your engine to give the cat time to escape.
Keeping Your Pet Warm
Even though most dogs and cats come with their own fur coats, for short-haired dogs and older, frail animals, a sweater will help protect them from the cold.
The Animal Defense League believes that all pets should be kept indoors during the winter months. In fact, we ensure that ours are inside and out of drafts during inclement weather.
Pets require extra calories to keep warm during cold weather. Feed your pet according to its needs when the temperature drops.
Pets should have sleeping quarters in a draft-free, warm area with their bed or mattress elevated slightly off the floor.
Reminder: In severely cold or inclement weather, no pet should be kept outside.