How to keep your pets safe in sub-zero temperatures

CREATED Jan 21, 2013

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  • From left Mona, a 2 year-old black Lab Mix and Wynston, a 6 month old white Goldendoodle Rachel Reas, plays with each other dogs at the Currie Park Dog Exercise Area, 3535 N. Mayfair Road in Wauwautosa, Monday, July 19, 2010. The nearly year old dog park offers 1.5 acres of fenced-in space with trees and benches on a hill overlooking the golf course and parkway.Currently Milwaukee County has four off-leash dog exercise areas. They are: Currie Park Dog Exercise Area Ð 3535 N. Mayfair Road Estabrook Park Dog Exercise Area Ð 4400 N. Estabrook Drive Granville Dog Exercise Area Ð 11718 W. Good Hope Place Runway Dog Exercise Area Ð 1214 E Rawson Avenue Rick Wood/RWOOD@JOURNALSENTINEL.COM Image by Rick Wood

With temperatures dropping below zero this week, the Wisconsin Humane Society would like to remind people that this time of year may pose threats to their pets.

The organization offers the following tips to avoid cold weather perils and help keep their animals safe:

Keep your animals inside. Even Northern Breed dogs like Malamutes and Chow Chows need heated, comfortable shelter away from bitter cold temperatures and high winds to stay safe. Only take your dogs outside long enough to relieve him/herself and keep cats indoors at all times.

If you see spilled antifreeze, clean it up. The sweet taste of this lethal poison actually attracts animals. Use more animal-friendly formulations of products if possible, such as propylene glycol instead of ethylene glycol.

Always keep your dog leashed on snow and ice. Despite their powerful noses dogs often lose their scent in the snow and ice, and can easily become lost.

Never leave your companion animal alone in the car, especially in cold weather. The car can quickly become a refrigerator and your beloved animal can freeze to death.

When your dog comes in out of the rain, snow or ice, thoroughly wipe off his or her legs, feet and stomach. Salt and antifreeze can kill dogs, so it is very important that these harmful substances are wiped off before your dog has a chance to lick them off his or her own paws. The Wisconsin Humane Society sells booties that can be worn by dogs to help prevent salt and antifreeze from sticking to paw pads. Also, pay special attention to your canine's paw pads. Snow and ice caught between the pads can make them bleed.

Before you start your car, beep your horn several times. Cats often look for warm places to rest, and the hood of your car or even underneath the vehicle might be options for them. By honking your horn, cats will be alerted to run away.

The cold weather typically means the furnace is cranked up. It's dangerous for animals to rest under or near a radiator or other heating system. Consider placing an appropriate cover that is especially made for heating systems so animals can be safe from these areas. Also, find a warm place for your furry friend to sleep – away from heaters, but not near a cold draft.