With temperatures below freezing in Middle Tennessee, don't forget about your pets while you're trying to keep warm.
The American Red Cross has some tips everyone can follow to make sure their pets are safe during the bitter cold.
1. Keep your pets indoors as much as possible. If you are cold outside, chances are they are chilly too.
2. If you can’t bring animals inside, make sure they are protected by a dry, draft-free enclosure with cedar shavings or straw to help keep them warm. Also make sure that they can get to unfrozen water.
3. Salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice can irritate a pet’s paws. Wipe the animal’s paws with a damp towel when they come back inside before they can lick them. If they eat the de-icer product it can make then sick.
4. Antifreeze is deadly to your pet. Wipe up spills and store antifreeze out of reach.
5. The cold is harder on sick or older animals. If your pet is sensitive to the cold because of age, illness or breed, only take them outside to relieve themselves.
6. Do you have cats that roam the neighborhood? They may look for warmth under the hood of your car. If you start the engine, you could hurt or kill the animal. Before you start up the vehicle, honk the horn or bang on the hood to allow the cat to get away.
7. Just like you shouldn’t leave your pet in the car when it’s hot outside, don’t leave them in the car when it’s cold. In this extreme weather, they could freeze to death.
8. Pets can get frostbite just like you. Signs include pale skin or skin blue in color, lack of pain or a lot of pain at the affected area. Most susceptible are the pet’s tail, ears, or feet.
9. Animals can also suffer from hypothermia. Signs include decreased heart rate, dilated pupils, shivering or being unsteady. If you suspect your pet is suffering from either frostbite or hypothermia, consult your veterinarian.
10. Now is a great time to download the Red Cross Pet First Aid App for more information about how to take care of your pet. The app can be found in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross or by visiting redcross.org/mobileapps.