Knock On Your Hood And 5 Other Tips For Safety In Cold Weather
No, this isn’t a tip to knock snow or ice off your engine block, it’s a tip to help protect the lives of cats or other small animals that may be hiding under the hood or on top of a tire as a way to stay warm in cold weather. The noise should help startle them away from their hidey-hole before they can be killed or injured by moving parts around the engine or crushed when the tire begins to roll.
According to the ASPCA, during the winter, outdoor cats sometimes sleep under the hoods of cars or nestle in the wheelwell to stay warm in cold weather. To a cat living outside, or just waiting for a chance to get back in the house, there are a lot of warm nooks and crannies in a car that look very inviting.
If there are outdoor cats in your area, bang loudly on the car hood before starting the engine to give the cat a chance to escape. Others suggest also honking the horn before driving away, just to be sure no creatures are hiding in or around the car’s chassis.
1. Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during cold weather
A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold and causing an animal to freeze to death.
2. A dog or cat is happiest and healthiest when kept indoors
Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep inside. Give them warm beds off the floor and away from all drafts. If you can’t spend money on a pet bed, then a warm blanket or pillow is just fine.
3. Take precautions if your pet spends a lot of time outside
Their fur simply is not enough protection from the cold weather. If for some reason your pet is outdoors much of the day, the Humane Society suggests offering protection in a dry, draft-free shelter that is large enough to allow the animal to sit and lie down comfortably but small enough to hold in his/her body heat. The floor should be raised a few inches off the ground and covered with cedar shavings or straw. The doorway should be covered with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic. If you leave food or water outside, use plastic food and water bowls; when the temperature is low, your pet's tongue can stick and freeze to metal.
4. Like coolant, antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats
Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from around your vehicle, and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol. Visit the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center for more information.
5. Protect paws from salt
The salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice can irritate the pads of your pet's feet. Wipe your pet’s paws with a damp towel before your furbaby licks them and irritates his/her mouth.