Winter's bitter cold, bone-chilling temperatures are upon us, it’s important to keep our furry friends warm, comfy and healthy!
Here are a few guidelines on keeping your pets safe during harsh winter months (www.aspca.org):
- Keep your cat inside. Outdoors, felines can freeze, become lost or be stolen, injured or killed. Cats who are allowed to stray are exposed to not only freezing temperatures but also infectious diseases, including rabies, from other cats, dogs and wildlife.
- During the winter, stray cats sometimes sleep under the hoods of cars. When the motor is started, the cat can be injured or killed. 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 paws when he comes in out of the sleet, snow or ice. Dogs can ingest salt, antifreeze or other potentially dangerous chemicals while licking paws and 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. If your furry friend isn’t that furry and is a short-haired breed, consider getting him a cozy warm coat or sweater.
- Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during cold weather, NOR AT ANY TIME! A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold and causing the animal to sustain serious frostbite injuries or worse.
- 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 long enough to “do his business.”
- In milder weather, if your dog spends 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.
- 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!
Probably the best prescription for winter's woes is to keep your dog or cat inside with you and your family as much as possible. The happiest dogs are those that are taken out frequently for walks and exercise, but kept inside the rest of the time with the comfort and love of family members! Enjoy the winter with your furry friend and do it safely!