Your questions on winter weather and pets answered by your K9 Watch Dog (me):
#1: Is it true that outdoor cats may hide under car engines? — Yes! It’s like a heating pad. Cats figure out that it’s a warm place that provides shelter, so they crawl up inside. “Knock three times on the car hood in the morning,” is my tune, which hopefully wakes up any snoozing cat. Cats have been badly mangled by car engines…Just another reason to keep cats indoors only.
#2: Do dogs need coats in the winter? — It depends. Small dogs, absolutely, anytime it’s below 40 degrees. Their small bodies can’t retain heat. And, sight hounds, like the Greyhound, Saluki, and Whippet should also wear coats because they have so little body fat. It’s got to be pretty cold before a Great Pyrenees, Alaskan Husky, or Malamute will need a coat, but in some places it can get that cold, and if you add wind and snow, sometimes even those dogs are more comfortable wearing an extra layer of protection. However, for a Alaskan Husky, a 65 degree day is actually pretty warm, and 32 is usually pretty comfortable. Also, consider that older or sick dogs always benefit when kept warm and comfortable.
#3: Can dogs get sick from licking ice balls? – Dogs don’t typically get sick from licking ice; however, I worry about what’s on the ice. For example, antifreeze can kill a dog, and harsh street salt actually can make a dog sick. Safe Step Sure Paws is a pet-friendly salt you may have heard about, and it not only causes no harm if licked off paws, but it doesn’t sting paws when dogs walk on it. Also, it’s not harmful to concrete or the environment.