The toxic potential of Ethylene Glycol is Enormous.
It has a sweet taste and animals are attracted to it. It can be deadly! Ethylene Glycol Poisoning is extremely destructive to the kidneys and can cause complete renal failure.
Many of the products that are used to melt snow and ice can cause chemical burns to your pet's paws. If they try to lick their feet after they come inside, they will ingest the chemicals and could vomit. Plan ahead by looking for pet safe snow melt products to use near your home. Products with calcium chloride should be avoided as they may cause skin and eye irritation for both you and your pet.
When your pet comes inside, wipe their pads off with warm water and dry them. While you're doing this, quickly look for ice chunks trapped in the fur of their feet and clean them out. Check for cracked pads and apply ointment, if necessary.
Be sure that your pets have liquid water to drink! Your pet's tongue can stick to metal bowls, so change to plastic for their water. There are water heaters available that will use a minimum amount of electricity and keep your pet's water melted.
Not all pets can cope with the cold weather for extended periods of time. Most cats are comfortable with the cold, but short-haired cats may get chilly even when it's only moderately cool. Laboradors or northern breeds may be fine playing in the snow, but Yorkies and poodles may not be able to handle it. Discuss your pet's ability to withstand the cold with your veterinarian.
Your pet has become used to the warmth during the summer and has probably shed his/her coat - (Remember all that hair that you've been cleaning up?) Now they need three to six weeks to regrow it.
Let them become accustomed to the cold a little at a time. If they're a thin-coated breed, consider a "pet coat". They're very inexpensive to purchase, or you can make them from patterns from the fabric store, if you want to.
While their hair is growing thicker, keep it combed to prevent mats. The dead hair will trap dirt and moisture, which will be trapped next to the skin and will cause skin diseases.
If your pet will be outside for extended periods, give them shelter where they can get out of the wind and the weather. If you put a dog house out, keep track of the bedding to be sure it's dry. It will get wet every time it rains. Situate it so that the door doesn't face into the prevailing wind. Maybe put it on the south side of another structure, or fix your pet a place in the garage.
If weather conditions are such that you wouldn't be outside for longer than 15 minutes, Bring your pet in!. They can - and do - get frostbite. Don't risk it. If you think your pet has frostbite, call your veterinarian. It can be extremely serious!
Cats are usually OK if they have a garage or other outbuilding that they can get into. Check your engine compartment before starting your car. Cats will crawl into the engine compartment to be near the warm engine - and out of the wind.