5 Winter Weather Safety Tips From Animal Rescue League of Boston

ARL to host #ARLaskavet winter pet health twitter chat on January 14, 12:30 PM 

Boston, MA – The first Nor’easter of 2014 and polar vortex have made one thing clear: winter is here!  We all prepare the best we can to endure the plummeting temperatures, snow, and ice.  For the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL), helping pets stay happy and healthy during cold snaps and storms tops the list of the organization’s winter weather preparations.

The ARL recommends making five seasonal adjustments to our daily routines to keep pets safe and sound:

  1. Winterize outdoor accommodations.  If pets must stay outdoors, ensure he or she has adequate protection against the elements.  Veterinary experts agree a winter-friendly shelter should have three enclosed sides, stand off the ground, and contain generous amounts of bedding such as clean straw or hay.
  2. Watch the thermometer.  Like other New Englanders, many of our pets are conditioned to the cold weather.  Yet even for the winter-experienced animals, bring outdoor pets indoors if the temperature drops below 20 degrees.  Puppies, kittens, and short-haired pets should come indoors when the thermometer drops below 40 degrees.
  3. Check underneath the hood.  Cats love to warm up underneath cars and car hoods, leading to burns and other grave injuries when the car gets turned on suddenly.  Make a habit to pound on the hood of the car and give a visual check underneath your vehicle before you start it to make sure no one is taking a nap or basking in the heat from the engine.
  4. Stay alert around the fire.  Just like people, when they’re cold, pets gravitate to the heat.  If you have a fire in your fire place or wood stove, or turn on the space heater, make sure to pay attention to how close your pet gets to hot surfaces and areas to avoid serious burns. 
  5. Pay attention to grooming and senior pet health.  A pet with a matted coat cannot keep him or herself warm!  Long-haired pets, especially during heavy periods of shedding, need extra help maintaining a healthy coat.  Senior pets also can have more pain from arthritis in the cold, so check with your veterinarian for suggestions for keeping your pet content.

The ARL will also host a 30-minute twitter chat Tuesday, January 14, beginning at 12:30 pm.  Dr. Edward Schettino, the ARL’s director of veterinary medical services, will answer questions and speak to concerns about winter pet health.  Follow the ARL on twitter @ARLBoston and use #ARLaskavet to join the conversation.

For more helpful winter pet health and safety tips, visit arlboston.org/winterweather

About the Animal Rescue League of Boston

Founded in 1899, the Animal Rescue League of Boston is dedicated to rescuing domesticated animals and wildlife from suffering, cruelty, abandonment, and neglect. The ARL receives no government funding and relies solely on the generosity of supporters to help animals in need.