Brrrr-it’s c-c-c-cold outside! Calls are coming in about the poor animals left outdoors and we are forwarding people to their area law enforcement. Here are some simple tips to keep animals safe in the wintery months ahead.
- Keep your cat indoors! Left outdoors, felines can freeze, become lost or be stolen, injured or killed.
We all know that in the winter, outdoor cats sometimes sleep under the hoods of cars or in the wheel wells. When the motor is started, the cat can be injured or killed by the fan belt. Outdoor cats are prevalent in our county, so bang loudly on your 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! Even the smartest dogs can easily become lost. Make sure your dog always wears ID tags…and get that microchip done, too!
- 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 as he licks his paws. Also, paw pads may also bleed from snow or hard, encrusted ice. USE ONLY PET SAFE ICE MELT!
- 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. A short-haired breed benefits from a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with tail to belly coverage. For many dogs – older, ill, or just not winter durable – this is regulation winter wear.
- Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during cold weather. A car will act as a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold and causing an animal to freeze to death.
- 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. Potty pads for the older dogs or any dog who can’t handle the outdoors long enough “to go” deserve some indoor option when the weather is frigid!
- If your dog loves the outdoors and can’t get enough playtime out there, be sure to 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.
- 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.