The Quick Read. Anti-Freeze is poisonous. De-icers (salt, chemicals) can cause foot pain/burns; if unavoidable, rinse feet well. If you’re cold, they are too; bring them in. Watch for symptoms of hypothermia. Bang on car hood before you start your car (if it’s not garaged). Read details below.
With winter – and low temperatures – upon us, it’s important to make sure companion animals are safe and warm. Dogs, cats and other companion animals are not equipped to handle the cold. Yes, there are breed exceptions. But even those should have adequate shelter.
It is not uncommon for dogs and cats left outdoors in the brutal cold to suffer severe frostbite or even to freeze to death – yes, even in Virginia. Animal organizations are frequently contacted regarding animal cruelty charges filed against people who have left animals out in the cold.
Public scrutiny and law enforcement are the best tools to enforce animal cruelty laws, and that is why animal organizations make exposing such neglect, like leaving dogs outdoors to freeze to death, a priority and make sure violators of these laws are held accountable.
State laws differ dramatically when it comes to defining the standards of care required for animals. One thing is certain: it is illegal to cause a companion animal to freeze to death.
What To Do: If you’re aware of an animal in need, call Animal Control in your county. In Hanover, call 365-6140.
Safety tips:the best way to keep companion animals from freezing to death is to bring them indoors, where it is warm.
- Don’t leave companion animals outdoors, especially when temperatures drop – if it’s uncomfortably cold for you to be outside, it is equally uncomfortable, and potentially deadly, for them.
- Shivering, weak pulse, dilated pupils, stupor, and unconsciousness are signs of hypothermia. If an animal exhibits these symptoms get them to a veterinarian right away!
- Salt that melts snow can be a serious irritant for to an animal’s paws, make sure to wipe or rinse their feet when back indoors.
- Don’t leave antifreeze in open containers. Antifreeze is deadly—its sweet taste attracts almost any animal and will kill them.
- Bang on the hood of your car before starting it—animals may crawl under the hood to find warmth.