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Winter & Pets: Cold Weather Safety Tips for Our Furry Friends

STATEWIDE (Thursday, December 15th) – With bitterly cold temperatures forecasted for the next few days, it is important pet owners keep their furry friends safe during the severe winter weather.

The cold weather is difficult on our pets and the American Red Cross in Maine has 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 forecasted 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 non-frozen drinking water.” 

Other tips pet owners should be aware of include:
Salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice can irritate a pet’s paws. Wipe their paws with a damp towel before your pet licks them and irritates their 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, tail and tips of the ears are most susceptible.
• If your pet has frostbite, bring them 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 your pet to your veterinarian immediately.

If pet owners would like additional information, download the American Red Cross Pet First Aid App: The app provides dog and cat owners with resources on how to maintain their pet’s 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.

The app is available to download for free in app stores, by going to redcross.org/apps or by texting ‘GETPET’ to 90999. Additional winter storm safety information is available at redcross.org/wintersafety.

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About the American Red Cross: The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit MaineRedCross.org, like the American Red Cross of Maine on Facebook or visit us on Twitter at @ARC_Maine.