Women’s Independent Press

Informing Women About Our World

Archive for the ‘Pets’

Animal Friends Offers Cold Weather Tips for Pets

December 01, 2010 By: Anna Marie Category: Pets

As the temperature tumbles and snow begins to fall, it’s time to turn attention to the special needs of our four-footed companions.  Our pets can remain healthy and happy during the colder months by following some simple guidelines:

* Don’t leave pets outdoors when the temperature drops. Most dogs, and all cats and rabbits, are safer indoors, except when taken out for exercise. Regardless of the season, short-haired, very young or old dogs, and all cats and rabbits should never be left outside without supervision. Short-coated dogs may feel more comfortable wearing a sweater during walks.

* No matter what the temperature, wind chill can threaten a pet’s life. A pet is happiest and healthiest when kept indoors. If yours is an outdoor pet, however, he must be protected by a dry, draft-free enclosure that is large enough to allow the animal to sit and lie down comfortably, but small enough to hold in his body heat. The floor should be raised at least two inches off the ground and covered with cedar shavings or straw. Packing a doghouse with straw can increase the inside temperature by 10-20 degrees. The house should be turned to face away from the wind, and the doorway should be covered with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic.

* Pets who spend a lot of time outdoors need more food in the winter because keeping warm depletes energy. Routinely check your pet’s water dish to make
certain the water is fresh and unfrozen. Use plastic food and water bowls rather than metal; when the temperature is low, your pet’s tongue can stick and freeze to metal.

* Warm engines in parked cars attract cats and small wildlife, who may crawl up under the hood. To avoid injuring any hidden animals, bang on your car’s hood to scare them away before starting your engine.

* The salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice can irritate the pads of your pet’s feet. Wipe the feet with a damp towel before your pet licks them and irritates his/her mouth.

* Antifreeze is a deadly poison, but it has a sweet taste that may attract animals and children. Wipe up spills and store antifreeze (and all household chemicals) out of reach. The happiest pets are those who are taken out frequently for walks and exercise but kept inside the rest of the time. Dogs, cats and rabbits are social animals who crave human companionship. Your animal companions deserve to live indoors with you and your family!

For more information contact Animal Friends at 412.566.2103 or visit www.animal-friends.org.