In the winter, some things are common sense. This means not leaving pets at home while on vacation, keeping dogs leashed during walks and putting dog sweaters on them. However, you can help animals in a variety of ways.

Use Nontoxic Antifreeze
Regular antifreeze has an attractive taste that animals like, but it’s highly poisonous. To protect wildlife, buy non-toxic brands. You can also purchase products with denatonium benzoate. This antifreeze tastes bitter, so animals are more likely to stay away from it.

Check under the Hood of the Car
Small animals like to crawl under car hoods to keep warm near the engine. Make it a habit to bang on the hood a few times before starting the engine. This will help scare them off.

Provide Shelter
If you have a guard dog that stays outside a lot, provide a winter-proof shelter. A doghouse should be big enough to let the pet stretch out. It should also sit a few inches above the ground to provide adequate snow protection. For feral and stray cats, put out boxes that are lined with towels. If you can, let them stay in your garage or porch during bad winter weather.

Before snow hits, build a brush pile in your yard out of sticks and leaves. Insects and small animals will use it for shelter. In all cases, make sure to put food and water out for the animals. Check the water frequently to make sure it won’t freeze, or set it up in a heated bowl.

Keep Dogs Dry
Before heading outside with your furry friend, place booties on the dog’s paws to protect them from the substances that can melt snow and ice. Even when he is wearing a sweater, and there is no precipitation, rub him off with a towel when back inside. This will keep him dry and comfortable, and he will appreciate the attention.

Groom Dogs Properly
Brush dogs regularly because this increases circulation. This helps keep pets warm and can help stave off dry skin. Clean, healthy fur also insulates better.

If you regularly shave your dog’s hair, let it grow out in the winter for extra warmth. When he goes out a lot, it can exacerbate dry skin once he’s back inside. In that case, use a humidifier.