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Cold weather tips for your pet

Post Date:01/25/2019 11:16 AM

Contact Keri Zaleski
(815)-334-4456; cell (815)-236-3238

WOODSTOCK IL – With the weather forecast calling for extreme cold and more snow over the next week, McHenry County Animal Control (MCAC) urges pet owners to take special precautions.
Maryellen Howell, MCAC’s Veterinarian Manager, offers these tips (adapted from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Chicago Veterinary Medical Association) to keep your pets safe during the extreme weather:

• Cats or dogs can, and do, get frostbite and hypothermia. Never shave your pet down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth. If your cat or dog is short-haired, consider getting him a coat or sweater.
• After each walk, wash and dry your pet’s feet and stomach to remove ice, salt and chemicals. Massaging petroleum jelly such as Vaseline into paw pads before going outside can help protect from salt and chemical agents.
• Repeatedly coming out of the cold into the dry heat of your home can cause itchy, flaking skin. Towel dry your pet when they come inside, removing any snow balls from between foot pads.
• Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts.
• Remember, if it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet, so keep your animals inside whenever possible. In subzero temperatures, even outdoor pets should be brought inside until the severe cold has passed.
• In addition, don’t leave pets alone in a car during cold weather, as cars can act as refrigerators that hold in the cold and cause animals to freeze to death.
• If an animal is in immediate distress, law enforcement should be notified immediately. Animal cruelties can be reported to McHenry County Animal Control via the main phone (815)-459-6222 or via email (

For more information about keeping your pet safe during harsh winter weather visit, or the Veterinary Division section of

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