Winter storm tips for pets

February 8, 2013

CUTE+SNOW+DOGSaint Francis Veterinary Center Fully Operational for Pet Emergencies During Winter Storm

Affecting communities in South Jersey, Philadelphia and the Tri-State Area

GLOUCESTER COUNTY, N.J. (February 08, 2013)Saint Francis Veterinary Center, an award-winning specialty and 24-hour emergency hospital for animals, will be operational with full medical teams and independent on-site electrical power during the winter storm expected to hit the Philadelphia, South Jersey and New York area Friday night. Should your pet experience a medical emergency at any time during the winter storm – day or night – Saint Francis urges you to call its emergency line at 856-467-0050.

“In any storm event it is important to take the proper precautions for your pets the same as you would your family or your home,” said Karyn Collier, DVM, and Chief Medical Officer of Saint Francis Veterinary Center. “Before you run out to buy water and bread make sure you have enough pet food to last a few days at home, and that they have a warm safe place to ride out the storm with you.”

Dubbed “Nemo” by The Weather Channel, the storm is set to dump massive amounts of snowfall in some areas and produce hurricane force winds in the North East. While weather reports slightly differ on accumulation numbers, the tips listed below from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) can ensure that everyone from Philadelphia and the tri-state area are safe during the winter storm.


  • Keep your cat inside. Outdoors, felines can freeze, become lost or be stolen, injured or killed.
  • During the winter, outdoor cats sometimes sleep under the hoods of cars. When the motor is started, the cat can be injured or killed by the fan belt. 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.


  • 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 ID tags.
  • 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.
  • Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth. When you bathe your dog in the colder months, be sure to completely dry him before taking him out for a walk. Own a short-haired breed? Consider getting him a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly. For many dogs, this is regulation winter wear.
  • Puppies do not tolerate the cold as well as adult dogs, and may be difficult to housebreak during the winter. If your puppy appears to be sensitive to the weather, you may opt to paper-train him inside. If your dog is sensitive to the cold due to age, illness or breed type, take him outdoors only to relieve himself.
  • Does your dog spend a lot of time engaged in outdoor activities? Increase his supply of food, particularly protein, to keep him, and his fur, in tip-top shape.


  • Like coolant, antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle, and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol. Visit the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center more information.
  • 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 the animal to freeze to death.
  • Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.
  • Does your dog spend a lot of time engaged in outdoor activities? Increase his supply of food, particularly protein, to keep him, and his fur, in tip-top shape.

If your pet experiences a medical emergency that requires immediate transportation to Saint Francis Veterinary hospital:

  • Remain calm – your pet depends on you to maintain clear thoughts to maintain safety for both of you
  • Call Saint Francis – 856.467.0050. Saint Francis’ doctors and staff will work to help you through the situation.
  • Evaluate your surroundings – do not drive if conditions are unsafe.
  • If conditions are safe for transportation, secure your pet in your car. This is very important to ensure safe driving conditions inside your vehicle.
  • Print out directions and review the route, or program your GPS, BEFORE you turn on your car. Do not look at your phone as you drive.
  • Let a family member know that you are transporting your pet to the hospital, and set times that you will check in. Alert them to your route in case something should happen so that authorities can reach you in the event of a break down.
  • Drive safely. Stay off of back roads and roads that are poorly lit or plowed.
  • When you arrive, park directly in front of the hospital, ring the emergency bell, and Saint Francis staff will immediately assist you. After you arrive, immediately call a family member.

About Saint Francis Veterinary Center

Saint Francis Veterinary Center is an award-winning, AAHA-accredited veterinary practice and a top regional specialty referral practice for animals. Based in Woolwich Township, N.J. the center is home to numerous Board Certified specialists and other veterinary experts, specializing in emergency and critical care, surgery, internal medicine, cardiology, radiology, ophthalmology, physical rehabilitation, nuclear medicine, and holistic and natural therapies. For more information please visit