Cold could make cars a death trap for pets

PETA recommends bringing all animals indoors during the cold weather.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, also known as PETA, have issued a list of cold weather tips that outlines ways to make sure pets and other animals remain safe during the winter months.

The recommendations include things that even animal lovers may not have thought of before; including a reminder that animals can become dehydrated in cold temperatures because their typical water sources freeze.

Here are some of PETA's other reminders:

  • During winter, cats sometimes climb under the hoods of cars to be near warm engines and are badly injured or killed when the car is started

  • Wipe off your dogs' or cats' legs, feet, and stomachs after they come in from the snow. Salt and other chemicals can make your animals sick if they ingest them. You should also increase animals' food rations during the winter because they burn more calories in an effort to stay warm.

  • Keep animals indoors. This is absolutely critical when it comes to puppies and kittens, elderly animals, small animals, and dogs with short hair, including pointers, beagles, pit bulls, Rottweilers, and Doberman pinschers. Short-haired animals will also benefit from a warm sweater or a coat on walks.

  • Take unidentified animals indoors until you can find their guardians or take them to an animal shelter. If strays are skittish or otherwise unapproachable, provide food and water and call your local humane society for assistance in trapping them and getting them indoors.

  • If you see animals left outside without shelter from the elements, please notify authorities. For information on what constitutes adequate shelter, click here.

The organization says that it receives thousands of complaints, each year, about people who leave dogs outside in the cold.

They want to remind pet owners that although they are equipped with "fur coats", dogs and other animals can still suffer from frostbite and exposure.

Cold weather spells also present extra hardship for "backyard dogs," according to PETA, who often go without adequate food, water, shelter, or veterinary care.

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