With a forecast of bitterly cold temperatures statewide, it is important that pet owners keep their furry friends safe during severe winter weather. Cold weather is difficult on pets, and the American Red Cross in Maine offers steps people can follow to help ensure their pet’s safety over the next few days and throughout the remainder of the winter season.
“Pet owners should bring their animals inside to protect them from the severe winter weather forecast for the region,” said Dave Sheehan, regional disaster program officer for the Red Cross in Maine. “Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas and make sure they have access to nonfrozen drinking water.”
Other tips pet owners should be aware of:
- Salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice can irritate a pet’s paws. Wipe paws with a damp towel before the pet licks them and irritates its mouth.
- Antifreeze is a deadly poison. Wipe up spills and store antifreeze out of reach.
- Signs of frostbite include discoloration of the frozen area, pale or even blue skin, no pain or lots of pain. The pads of the paws, the tail, and the tips of the ears are most susceptible.
- If a pet has frostbite, bring it out of the cold immediately. Spray the affected area with warm water. Lightly apply a warm compress to the area. Do not rub or apply pressure. Take the pet to a veterinarian immediately.
If pet owners would like additional information, they can download the American Red Cross pet first-aid app. The app is available to download for free in app stores, by going to redcross.org/apps, or by texting “GETPET” to 90999. The app provides dog and cat owners with resources on how to maintain pet health and well-being and what to do during emergencies until veterinary care is available. Owners have access to step-by-step instructions, videos, and images from more than 25 common first-aid and emergency situations, including what to do for cold-related emergencies.
Features in the app allow owners to:
- Find emergency pet-care facilities or alternate veterinarians if they are out of town with the “animal hospital locator”
- Locate pet-friendly hotels
- Test their knowledge with interactive quizzes and earn badges that they can share on their social networks; they can also attach their favorite picture of their pet when they share their badge
Additional winter-storm safety information is available at redcross.org/wintersafety.