Heavy snowfall and extreme cold can immobilize an entire region.
Even areas that normally experience mild winters can be hit with
a major snowstorm or extreme cold. Winter storms can result in flooding,
storm surge, closed highways, blocked roads, downed power lines
and hypothermia. The editors of the Leewood Times have put together
this guide to help you have a healthy and happy winter.
Storm and Extreme Cold Terms
Freezing Rain - Rain that freezes when it hits
the ground, creating a coating of ice on roads, walkways, trees,
and power lines.
Sleet - Rain that turns to ice pellets before
reaching the ground. Sleet also causes moisture on roads to freeze
and become slippery.
Winter Storm Watch - A winter storm is possible
in your area. Tune in to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or
television for more information.
Winter Storm Warning - A winter storm is occurring
or will soon occur in your area.
Blizzard Warning - Sustained winds or frequent
gusts to 35 miles per hour or greater and considerable amounts of
falling or blowing snow (reducing visibility to less than a quarter
mile) are expected to prevail for a period of three hours or longer.
Frost/Freeze Warning - Below freezing temperatures
Before Winter Storms and Extreme Cold, add the following
supplies to your disaster supplies kit:
- Snow shovels and other snow removal equipment
- Fresh Batteries
- Sufficient heating fuel; regular fuel sources may be cut off
- Good supply of dry, seasoned wood for your fireplace or wood-burning
- Keep fire extinguishers on hand
- Kitty Litter or sand for the trunk of your car for traction
- Rock salt to melt ice on walkways
Doing little things around the house can go a long way to having
a healthy winter. This section provides seasonal tips to help you
and your families winterize your home, reduce pollution and help
- Remove screens from windows and install storm windows.
Remove the screens from the storm window frames and
install storm windows.
Storm windows help reduce the cost to heat your home and help prevent
windowsills from rotting.
- Clean out gutters and downspouts. -
Cleaning debris and fallen leaves reduces the chances
of an ice dam forming. One good step is to spray water down the
downspouts to wash away leaves and other debris. A good tip is to
place gutter screens over gutters. Read more about ice dams at attic
ventilation and water damage.
- Insulate pipes in your home's crawl spaces and
These exposed pipes are most susceptible to freezing.
Remember: the more insulation you use, the better protected your
pipes will be.
- Store firewood at least 30 feet away from your
This will reduce a home's fire load and the chance
of attracting termites.
- Familiarize responsible family members with
the gas main valve and other appliance valves. -
Responsible family members should be familiar with
the location and operation of valves. If you are unsure of the location
and operation of these valves, contact a qualified plumber.
- Clean the clothes dryer exhaust duct, damper and space under
the dryer. -
Clean the clothes dryer exhaust duct, damper and space
under the dryer.
Poor maintenance allows lint to build up in the exhaust duct and
may cause a fire.
- Make sure all electrical holiday decorations
have tight connections. -
If possible, use 3-prong plugs and cords. The use
of 2-prong adapters, which permit 3-prong plugs to be used in 2-prong
outlets, doesn't always provide grounding to protect against shock.
Unplug decorations when not in use. Use of extension cords should
be temporary. To help reduce the chances of overheating, electric
cords, including extension cords, should never be bundled together
or run under rugs and carpet.
- Check the attic for adequate ventilation.
Check the exterior wall to be sure the ceiling insulation
is not blocking the outside air from the soffit vents from getting
into the attic. Make sure the attic has plenty of vents. Caution
should be taken in all attic spaces that are unfinished. Read more
at Attic ventilation and water damage.
- Clean the kitchen exhaust hood and air filter.
Keeping this clean of cooking grease will help keep
a stovetop fire from spreading.
- Check the water hoses on the clothes washer,
refrigerator icemaker and dishwasher for cracks and bubbles.
Check water hoses on the clothes washer, refrigerator
icemaker and dishwasher for cracks and bubbles. Replace hoses that
show signs of leaking.
- Test all ground-fault-circuit-interrupter (GFCI)
These need to be tripped and reset once a month. If
they do not trip or reset, have the outlet changed by a qualified
electrician. These types of outlets are required around wet areas
like bathrooms and kitchens to offer protection against shock. Only
a qualified electrician should make changes in your home's electrical
- Check the ducts. -
It's the time of year when homes have their highest
energy demand of the year. Heating accounts for 34% of all annual
utility usage and is part of what makes an average home twice the
emitter of carbon dioxide emissions as a vehicle. Here is a way
to reduce the demand for expensive space heating. To ensure that
as much warm air as possible is delivered through your central system,
check the ductwork and wrap any leaks with duct mastic. Distribution
losses (what's lost while air is transported from your furnace through
ductwork to the vents) often amounts to 30%. So, sealing ductwork
could increase efficiency and the warm air you receive considerably
... keeping you warmer and making your furnace work less.
- Service your heating system. -
To make sure your heating system (boiler, furnace
or heat pump) is operating at its most efficient, it is a good idea
to have a contractor perform a routine check-up and any necessary
maintenance on the equipment before freezing weather drives up your
energy bill. If your heating equipment more than ten years old,
it may be time for a replacement to a more energy-efficient unit.
While initially an expensive investment, replacing old equipment
with ENERGY STAR qualified equipment saves more energy and money
in the long run.
- Be a firefighter. -
Make sure you have working fire extinguishers and
make sure everyone in your house knows how to use them. House fires
pose an additional risk, as more people turn to alternate heating
sources without taking the necessary safety precautions.
- Have a Plan. -
Learn how to shut off water valves (in case a pipe
bursts). Know ahead of time what you should do to help elderly or
disabled friends, neighbors or employees.
- Look up. -
Hire a contractor to check the structural ability
of the roof to sustain unusually heavy weight from the accumulation
of snow - or water, if drains on flat roofs do not work.
Protecting Yourself and Your Family From Radon
Radon levels can soar during the colder months when
residents keep windows closed and spend more time indoors. As many
as 22,000 people die from lung cancer each year in the United States
from exposure to indoor radon. Approximately one home in 15 across
the nation has unacceptably high radon levels; in some areas of
the country, as many as one out of two homes has high levels
EPA Recommends you test your home for radon -- it's
easy and inexpensive.
Fix your home if your radon level is 4 picoCuries per liter (pCi/L)
Radon levels less than 4 pCi/L still pose a risk, and in many cases
may be reduced.
For more information about radon testing, call EPA's
hotline at 800-SOS-RADON
Indoor Air Pollution
Hazards may be associated with almost all types of
appliances. Here is some information about the potential for one
specific type of hazard - indoor air pollution - associated with
one class of appliances, combustion appliances.
Combustion appliances are those which burn fuels for
warmth, cooking, or decorative purposes. Typical fuels are gas,
both natural and liquefied petroleum; kerosene; oil; coal; and wood.
Examples of the appliances are space heaters, ranges, ovens, furnaces,
woodburning stoves, fireplaces, water heaters, and clothes dryers.
These appliances are usually safe. However, under certain conditions,
these appliances can produce combustion pollutants that can damage
your health, or even kill you.
Possible health effects range from headaches, dizziness,
sleepiness, and watery eyes to breathing difficulties or even death.
Similar effects may also occur because of common medical problems
or other indoor air pollutants. ...more
"Particle pollution" consists of microscopic
particles in the air that can get deep into the lungs, potentially
causing serious health problems. Unlike summertime ozone, particle
pollution can occur throughout the year. Although particle levels
aren't high every day, you should check your Air Quality Index (AQI)
forecasts to determine whether you need to take action to reduce
your exposure. Forecasts, health information, and maps showing real-time
particle levels are available on EPA's AIRNow web site at: www.epa.gov/airnow.
Winter Tips to Help our Environment
Walkways & Driveways
Consider using non-toxic de-icing substances such
as clean clay cat litter, sand, or fireplace/stove ash to prevent
hazardous waste from chemicals. Chemical de-icers can be hazardous
to your pets, your trees and shrubs, and the environment. Antifreeze
that leak from car engines and chemical snow melters on driveways,
roads, and runways can pollute surface waters and groundwater through
Ashes to Ashes
If you have a wood-burning fireplace, save your ashes
in a tin instead of throwing them away. Cold wood ashes can be mixed
in your compost heap to create a valuable soil amendment that provides
nutrients to your garden.
Use electric snow removal products rather than gasoline-powered
ones. While electric products consume energy, they do not emit greenhouse
gases. As alternatives, use snow shovels, ice crackers, and brooms
to clear snow from your sidewalk, porch, or driveway.
Turn the Dial
If you have a manual thermostat or no thermostat at
all, one way to save energy and money this winter is to install
an ENERGY STAR qualified programmable thermostat. When installed
and used with the four pre-programmed temperature settings for weekend
and weekdays, you can save about $100 each year while staying comfortable.
Before leaving for vacation, turn down your thermostat (or use a
programmable one) so that you don't waste natural resources by generating
unneeded heat. You can also buy outdoor and indoor lights with timers
so that lights don't stay on all night.
Come Full Circle
Close the recycling loop. Many articles of clothing,
such as jackets, scarves, gloves, and boots, are now made from recycled
materials. Most fleece products are made from recycled plastic soda
bottles, and certain clothing and shoe manufacturers use recycled
cotton scraps and rubber tires to make their products.
Recycle old newspapers by making rolled paper logs
for your fireplace. Roll newspaper sheets around a broom stick until
your log is the desired size, then soak your log thoroughly in water.
Dry the log overnight and use like ordinary wood. Always follow
proper safety precautions when burning anything around your home.
Keep Batteries out of our landfills
Winter storms often cause power outages. Prevent waste
by keeping rechargeable batteries rather than disposable ones stored
throughout your house with your flashlights. If you do use disposable
batteries, prevent hazardous waste by buying batteries with low
Family Safety Tips
Whether winter brings severe storms, light dustings
or just cold temperatures, Here are some valuable tips from the
American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) on how to keep your children
safe and warm.
If your child suffers from winter nosebleeds, try
using a cold air humidifier in the child's room at night. Saline
nose drops may help keep tissues moist. If bleeding is severe or
recurrent, consult your pediatrician. Many pediatricians feel that
bathing two or three times a week is enough for an infant’s
first year. More frequent baths may dry out the skin, especially
during the winter. Cold weather does not cause colds or flu. But
the viruses that cause colds and flu tend to be more common in the
winter, when children are in school and are in closer contact with
each other. Frequent hand washing and teaching your child to sneeze
or cough into the bend of her elbow may help reduce the spread of
colds and flu. Children between the ages of 6 and 59 months should
get the influenza vaccine to reduce their risk of catching the flu.
Winter Sports and Activities
Set reasonable time limits on outdoor play to prevent
frostbite. Have children come inside periodically to warm up.
Allow children to skate only on approved surfaces.
Check for signs posted by local police or recreation departments,
or call your local police department to find out which areas have
been approved. Advise your child to: skate in the same direction
as the crowd; avoid darting across the ice; never skate alone; not
chew gum or eat candy while skating.
Consider having your child wear a helmet while ice skating.
Keep away from motor vehicles. Children should be
supervised while sledding.
Keep young children separated from older children. Sledding feet
first or sitting up, instead of lying down head-first, may prevent
head injuries. Consider having your child wear a helmet while sledding.
Use steerable sleds, not snow disks or inner tubes.
Sleds should be structurally sound and free of sharp edges and splinters,
and the steering mechanism should be well lubricated. Sled slopes
should be free of obstructions like trees or fences, be covered
in snow not ice, not be too steep (slope of less than 30º),
and end with a flat runoff. Avoid sledding in crowded areas.
Snow Skiing and Snowboarding
Children should be taught to ski or snowboard by a
qualified instructor in a program designed for children. Never ski
or snowboard alone. Young children should always be supervised by
an adult. Older children’s need for adult supervision depends
on their maturity and skill. If older children are not with an adult,
they should always at least be accompanied by a friend. The AAP
recommends that children under age 7 not snowboard.
Consider wearing a helmet. Equipment should fit the child. Skiers
should wear safety bindings that are adjusted at least every year.
Snowboarders should wear gloves with built-in wrist guards. Slopes
should fit the ability and experience of the skier or snowboarder.
Avoid crowded slopes. Avoid skiing in areas with trees and other
The AAP recommends that children under age 16 not
operate snowmobiles and that children under age 6 never ride on
snowmobiles. Do not use a snowmobile to pull a sled or skiers. Wear
goggles and a safety helmet approved for use on motorized vehicles
like motorcycles. Travel at safe speeds. Never use alcohol or other
drugs before or during snowmobiling. Never snowmobile alone or at
night. Stay on marked trails, away from roads, water, railroads
Hypothermia develops when a child's temperature falls
below normal due to exposure to cold. It often happens when a youngster
is playing outdoors in extremely cold weather without wearing proper
clothing. As hypothermia sets in, the child may shiver and become
lethargic and clumsy. His speech may become slurred and his body
temperature will decline. If you suspect your child is hypothermic,
call 911 at once. Until help arrives, take the child indoors, remove
any wet clothing, and wrap him in blankets or warm clothes.
Frostbite happens when the skin and outer tissues
become frozen. This condition tends to happen on extremities like
the fingers, toes, ears and nose. They may become pale, gray and
blistered. At the same time, the child may complain that her skin
burns or has become numb. If frostbite occurs, bring the child indoors
and place the frostbitten parts of her body in warm (not hot) water.
104° Fahrenheit (about the temperature of most hot tubs) is
recommended. Warm washcloths may be applied to frostbitten nose,
ears and lips. Do not rub the frozen areas. After a few minutes,
dry and cover him with clothing or blankets. Give him something
warm to drink. If the numbness continues for more than a few minutes,
call your doctor.
The sun’s rays can still cause sunburn in the
winter, especially when they reflect off snow. Make sure to cover
your child’s exposed skin with sunscreen.
Winter is a time when household fires occur. It is
a good time to remember to:
- Buy and install smoke alarms on every floor of your
- Test smoke alarms monthly
- Practice fire drills with your children
Wear several layers of loose fitting, lightweight,
warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. The outer
garments should be tightly woven and water repellent.
Wear mittens, which are warmer than gloves. Remember to wear a hat
and to cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs.
What to Wear
Dress infants and children warmly for outdoor activities.
Several thin layers will keep them dry and warm. Clothing for children
should consist of thermal long johns, turtlenecks, one or two shirts,
pants, sweater, coat, warm socks, boots, gloves or mittens, and
a hat. The rule of thumb for older babies and young children is
to dress them in one more layer of clothing than an adult would
wear in the same conditions.
Blankets, quilts, pillows, sheepskins and other loose
bedding may contribute to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and
should be kept out of an infant’s sleeping environment. Sleep
clothing like one-piece sleepers is preferred. If a blanket must
be used to keep a sleeping infant warm, it should be tucked in around
the crib mattress, reaching only as far as your baby’s chest,
so the infant's face is less likely to become covered by bedding.
& Driving Tips
If your car needs regular service, get it done now.
If you break down when it's freezing outside you can be in trouble.
Since bad hoses, belts, water pumps, spark plug wires, and distributor
caps can leave you stranded in the winter, it's better to bite the
bullet and fix them. It's better than spending the same amount of
money after you've been sitting in your stalled car for three hours
waiting for a tow.
If you have leaks in the cooling system, take care
of them now. While many people think of overheating as a summer
problem, cars can overheat in winter, too, if they run low on or
out of coolant. And overheating can cause expensive engine damage
whenever it happens. Plus, if you have no coolant — or low
coolant — you have no heat!
Make sure your windshield wipers are in good shape.
Be sure your current wiper blades clean the windshield well, and
allow you to see clearly in wet weather. Even when there's no active
precipitation, water from melting snow and slush or truck tires
is often thrown up onto your windshield. And if you can't see, you
can't drive very well.
Make sure your windshield washer reservoir is full.
On a snowy or messy day, you can easily go through half a gallon
or more of windshield washer fluid trying to keep your windshield
clear. For that reason, it's also a good idea to keep some extra
fluid in the trunk in case you run out You also may need to supplement
your windshield washer fluid with some concentrate. The concentrate
is available in one-pint bottles and works very well at extremely
Plenty of Gas in your Tank
Keep your gas tank close to full, for a couple of
reasons. In the summer, you can take a chance and run down to fumes.
But in the winter, if you do get stuck or stranded, the engine will
be your only source of heat. You can run the engine indefinitely
at idle to stay warm-or as long as you have gas. No harm will be
done to the engine. If you are in the midst of a humungous snowstorm,
be sure to get out periodically and remove snow from around the
tailpipe to keep it unobstructed.
Sand in the Trunk?
If you have a rear-wheel-drive vehicle that needs
help in the snow, you can put a few bags of sand over the rear axle.
Draw an imaginary line between the two rear wheels. That's the location
of the rear axle, which is usually towards the front of the trunk.
The sand won't do as much good at the very back of the trunk as
it will right over the axle. In fact, you can make things worse
by putting too much weight too far back. In essence, by weighing
down the rear end too much, you "lift up" the front end
and lose some steering and braking abilities. So be sure to locate
the right spot to place the extra weight.
If you're putting bags of sand inside your car's passenger
compartment, be sure to attach them securely to the seats with the
seat belts. In an accident, they can become projectiles.
On a front-wheel-drive car, don't bother with sandbags. An enormous
weight (the engine) is already over the wheels that are powered.
Make sure your rear-window defroster works. In many
states, the law requires that ALL of your windows be clear before
you hit the road.
Driving in the Snow
Drive only if it is absolutely necessary. Travel in
the day, don’t travel alone, and keep others informed of your
schedule. Stay on main roads; avoid back road shortcuts. Take some
extra time to make sure your car is clean and your visibility is
good. When driving in the snow, do everything slowly. Don't ever
get lulled into a false sense of security. In the snow, the tires
are always just barely grabbing the road. Accelerate slowly and
gently, turn slowly and gently, and brake slowly and gently. You
have to anticipate turns and stops. Drive as if there were eggs
on the bottoms of your feet — step on the gas and the brake
pedals so gently that you don't break the eggshell.
Get the feel of the road by starting out slowly and
testing your steering control and braking ability. Avoid spinning
your tires when you start by gently pressing your gas pedal until
the car starts to roll. Start slowing down at least three times
sooner than you normally would when turning or stopping. Equip your
vehicle with chains or snow tires. Chains are by far the most effective,
and they should be used where ice and snow remain on the roadway.
Remember that snow tires will slide on ice or packed snow so keep
your distance. Reduce your speed to correspond with conditions.
There is no such thing as a “safe” speed range at which
you may drive on snow or ice. You must be extremely cautious until
you are able to determine how much traction you can expect from
When stopping, avoid sudden movements of the steering
wheel and pump the brake gently. Avoid locking of brakes on glazed
ice as it will cause a loss of steering and control. Every city
block and every mile of highway may be different, depending upon
sun or shade and the surface of the roadway. (Check your vehicle
owner’s manual, if the vehicle has anti-lock brakes, you may
apply steady pressure to the brake pedal.) Maintain a safe interval
between you and the car ahead of you according to the conditions
of the pavement. Many needless rear-end crashes occur on icy streets
because drivers forget to leave stopping space. Keep your windows
clear. Don’t start driving until the windows are defrosted
and clean - even if you’re only going a short distance. Watch
for danger or slippery spots ahead. Ice may remain on bridges even
though the rest of the road is clear. Snow and ice also stick longer
in shaded areas.
If You get Stuck in a Blizzard
- Pull off the highway. Turn on hazard lights and
hang a distress flag from the radio antenna or window.
- Remain in your vehicle where rescuers are most likely to find
you. Do not set out on foot unless you can see a building close
by where you know you can take shelter. Be careful; distances are
distorted by blowing snow. A building may seem close, but be too
far to walk to in deep snow.
- Run the engine and heater about 10 minutes each hour to keep warm.
When the engine is running, open a downwind window slightly for
ventilation and periodically clear snow from the exhaust pipe. This
will protect you from possible carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Exercise to maintain body heat, but avoid overexertion. In extreme
cold, use road maps, seat covers, and floor mats for insulation.
Huddle with passengers and use your coat for a blanket.
- Take turns sleeping. One person should be awake at all times to
look for rescue crews.
- Drink fluids to avoid dehydration.
- Be careful not to waste battery power. Balance electrical energy
needs - the use of lights, heat, and radio - with supply.
- Turn on the inside light at night so work crews or rescuers can
- If stranded in a remote area, stomp large block letters in an
open area spelling out HELP or SOS and line with rocks or tree limbs
to attract the attention of rescue personnel who may be surveying
the area by airplane.
Know Your Car
Every car has different handling characteristics.
You should know what your car can and cannot do in the snow. You
should know if you have front, rear, part-time or full-time four-wheel
drive; antilock brakes; traction control; and stability control.
You should know what kind of tires are on the car, and how all those
things work and how they help you or don't help you.
The three key elements to safe winter driving
- Stay alert
- Slow down
- Stay in control
Winterize Your Car
- Check or have a mechanic check the following items
on your car:
- Antifreeze levels - ensure they are sufficient to avoid freezing.
- Battery and ignition system - should be in top condition and battery
terminals should be clean.
- Brakes - check for wear and fluid levels.
- Exhaust system - check for leaks and crimped pipes andrepair or
replace as necessary. Carbon monoxide is deadly and usually gives
- Fuel and air filters - replace and keep water out of the system
by using additives and maintaining a full tank of gas.
- Heater and defroster - ensure they work properly.
- Lights and flashing hazard lights - check for serviceability.
- Oil - check for level and weight. Heavier oils congeal more at
low temperatures and do not lubricate as well.
- Thermostat - ensure it works properly.
- Windshield wiper equipment - repair any problems and maintain
proper washer fluid level.
Install good winter tires. Make sure the tires have
adequate tread. All-weather radials are usually adequate for most
winter conditions. However, some jurisdictions require that to drive
on their roads, vehicles must be equipped with chains or snow tires
Maintain at least a half tank of gas during the winter season.
Winter Emergency Kit for your Car
Place a winter emergency kit in each car that
Windshield Ice Scraper
Battery powered radio with extra batteries
Extra hats, Socks, Mittens
Old Coat and Boots
First-Aid Kit with Pocket Knife
Tow chain or rope
Road salt and Sand
Fluorescent distress flag
Extra Windshield Washer Fluid
Listen to your radio, television, or NOAA Weather
Radio for weather reports and emergency information.
Eat regularly and drink ample fluids, but avoid caffeine and alcohol.
Conserve fuel, if necessary, by keeping your residence cooler than
normal. Temporarily close off heat to some rooms.
If the pipes freeze, remove any insulation or layers of newspapers
and wrap pipes in rags. Completely open all faucets and pour hot
water over the pipes, starting where they were most exposed to the
cold (or where the cold was most likely to penetrate).
Maintain ventilation when using kerosene heaters to avoid build-up
of toxic fumes. Refuel kerosene heaters outside and keep them at
least three feet from flammable objects.
If you are outdoors:
Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow. Overexertion
can bring on a heart attack—a major cause of death in the
winter. If you must shovel snow, stretch before going outside.
Cover your mouth. Protect your lungs from extremely cold air by
covering your mouth when outdoors. Try not to speak unless absolutely
Keep dry. Change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body
heat. Wet clothing
loses all of its insulating value and transmits heat rapidly.
Watch for signs of frostbite. These include loss of feeling and
white or pale appearance in extremities such as fingers, toes, ear
lobes, and the tip of the nose. If symptoms are detected, get medical
Watch for signs of hypothermia. These include uncontrollable shivering,
memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness,
and apparent exhaustion.
If symptoms of hypothermia are detected:
- Get the victim to a warm location
- Remove wet clothing
- Put the person in dry clothing and wrap their entire body in a
- Warm the center of the body first
- Give warm, non-alcoholic or non-caffeinated beverages if the victim
- Get medical help as soon as possible.
Here are some tips to help make sure that your dog
or cat stays healthy and comfortable during the winter months.
- Keep pets away from antifreeze solution, and promptly clean up
any antifreeze spills. Antifreeze is attractive to pets but is deadly,
even in very small amounts.
- Do not leave your pets outdoors unattended when
the temperature gets below freezing. Pets that are mostly indoors
need time to adapt to cold temperatures. They must build up a thicker
coat and get their footpads toughened for snow and ice. Pets that
get too chilled can develop hypothermia or even frostbite. Ear tips
are especially susceptible to frostbite.
- Short-coated dogs (Greyhounds, Dobermans, Boxers
and Boston Terriers) should not go outside without a coat or sweater
in very cold weather, except to relieve themselves. Small dogs with
short coats (Chihuahuas, miniature Pinschers, and miniature Dachshunds)
are especially vulnerable to cold, and may not be able to tolerate
any outdoor exercise in extremely cold weather.
- Many dogs also need boots in cold weather, regardless
of coat length. If your dog frequently lifts up his paws, whines
or stops during its walks, it is demonstrating that its feet are
uncomfortably cold. Be sure to get your dog used to wearing boots
before the cold weather sets in.
- Dogs with long fur on the bottom of their paws often
develop ice balls between the pads and toes of the feet. To prevent
ice balls from forming, trim the hair around your dog's feet. Apply
a small amount of Vaseline, cooking oil, or PAM spray to your dog's
feet before taking him for a walk in snow. The oil helps prevent
ice balls from sticking. Make sure you use edible oil; most dogs
will lick their paws after you apply the oil.
- If your pet walks on salted sidewalks or streets,
be sure to wash his paws after your walk. Salt is very irritating
to footpads. Gently rub the bottom of the feet to remove the salt
as soon as your dog is off the road.
- Many animals are less active during the winter, and don't as many
calories as in the warmer months. Reduce your pet's diet during
the winter, to avoid excessive weight gain. You may wish to consult
with your veterinarian about the right winter food portions for
- Most cats prefer to spend their winter days indoors;
be cautious if your cat likes being outside. Don't let it out in
bitterly cold weather, and be sure it has a warm place to go if
it does spend a lot of time outdoors. Cats that are left outdoors
may crawl into a warm car engine to get warm, which can kill them.
It's much safer to keep your cat indoors during the winter.
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