SAN ANTONIO - With a few simple precautions, you can ensure your pets stay happy and healthy throughout winter.
The best way to protect your pets during frosty weather? Bring them inside. Pets (especially cats) are safer indoors. Can't have your pet inside the house? Purchase an insulated dog house or build a protective enclosure that shields your pet from the elements and gives them a safe, warm place to rest.
Certain pets are more vulnerable to cold temperatures than others. Shorthaired dogs, very young or old dogs and all cats should not be left outside during winter months. Shorthaired dogs may benefit from a sweater while outside.
Pets that spend much of their day outdoors will need some extra food as it gets colder. That's because they use up more energy trying to stay warm. A few extra kibbles probably won't hurt but make sure your pet is getting daily exercise if they're prone to weight gain.
Always provide fresh, clean water regardless of the season. Check water daily and clean bowls regularly to prevent algae growth.
Be mindful of your pets while winterizing your car. Antifreeze is deadly to pets that are attracted to its sweet taste. Store all chemicals out of reach -- especially if you're going to bring your pets into the garage on cold nights.
Before heading out to warm up the car, bang on the hood a time or two. A warm engine can be a welcome spot for a cold cat and the noise should scare them away before you start the engine.
The City of San Antonio has laws that protect pets from neglect including exposure to harsh weather conditions. Residents can report possible animal ordinance violations by calling the city's 311 Customer Service line.
Source: Animal Care Services
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