ASPCA offers tips to keep pets safe in snow and cold

As residents prepare for the first snowstorm of 2014, the ASPCA reminds pet owners to remember the four-legged members of their family.

The nonprofit American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals offers the following tips to help keep dogs safe during a winter storm:

— Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm; dogs can lose their scent and easily become lost. More dogs are lost during the winter than during any other season, so make sure yours always wears their ID tags.

Wipe dog’s legs and stomach after in snow

— Thoroughly wipe off your dog's legs and stomach when he comes in out of the sleet, snow or ice. He can ingest salt, antifreeze or other potentially dangerous chemicals while licking his paws, and his paw pads may also bleed from snow or encrusted ice.

— If it's too cold for you, it's too cold for your dog. Never leave your dog outside during a snowstorm for longer than you would want to be out there with them.

— For short-haired or smaller dogs, consider giving them a coat to wear outside to protect them from the elements and the chilly temperature. Pet owners should also consider putting pet booties on their feet to protect them from the harsh conditions.

About the ASPCA

The nonprofit American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) was founded in 1866, making it the first humane organization in the Western Hemisphere. The organization’s mission, as stated by founder Henry Bergh, is “to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States.”

While there are local SPCAs and humane societies all over the country, the ASPCA is not directly affiliated with them. However, the ASPCA works nationally to rescue animals from abuse, pass humane laws, and share resources with many shelters across the country.