- Snow is not an adequate source of water and water left in regular bowls will freeze — heated water dishes are essential.
- Provide your pet more, high-quality food — animals will burn more calories when left outside.
- Take extra care of elderly and very young pets — they are most susceptible to suffering in cold weather.
- Elevate doghouses off the ground so cold and moisture don’t rise through the floor. Face the doghouse away from the wind and provide a door flap to keep wind and snow out. Pile up straw around the outside of the house to insulate it.
- Your indoor dog will appreciate the extra warmth of a doggie coat, but if your dog stays outside, don’t use a coat — the fabric will freeze when wet.
- When walking your dog, consider dog booties to protect foot pads from chemicals, salt and sand. Also, wear gloves that will not impede your ability to properly hold the leash and clear the leash clasp of ice build-up.
- Antifreeze is highly toxic to pets, but its sweet flavor is enticing. Keep containers sealed and out of reach and check for puddles. If you suspect your pet has ingested antifreeze, seek immediate emergency veterinary treatment.
- Don’t leave your pet in a parked car — the car will act as a refrigerator and could result in death.
- Cats and other animals are often lured to warm parked-car engines. Bang on your hood before starting up the engine.
- Don’t let your dog chew on firewood and keep him away from indoor or outdoor fires, matches and accelerants.
- After being outside, check your pet for signs of hypothermia: shivering, muscle stiffness, low body movement, a weak pulse rate, lethargy, shallow breathing and disorientation. If you suspect your pet has hypothermia, seek immediate veterinary treatment. Don’t submerge your pet in warm water or place anything hot on his skin. Warm water bottles wrapped in towels, as well as blankets and towels fresh from the dryer, are best.
- In addition to protecting your own pets, keep an eye out for other animals exposed to the weather and contact your local animal control or humane society to report concerns.
- See more winter care tips on the AHA website.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Caring For Your Pet: Cold Weather Tips
The American Humane Association believes that pet owners should take special care with pet animals (particularly dogs) during the cold weather months. The AHA says: if you must leave an animal outdoors in cold weather, follow these tips: