Severe temperatures dangerous to our pets
January 13, 2009
Animal Humane Society urges pet owner to think twice when letting pets outside during the winter. Below freezing temperatures along with wind chill can prove deadly for our pets. According to Cindy Johnson, director of customer service at AHS, “If it is too cold to send your children outside, it is too cold for your pets."
Helpful tips for indoor pets:
- During severe weather, dogs should be let out only to relieve themselves.
- Remove ice, salt and caked mud from your pet's paws and coat after being outside.
- Before walks, put Vaseline or doggie shoes on your dogs' paws to protect him/her from sidewalk salt and chemicals.
- Pets, especially dogs, get less exercise during this time of year. Consider bringing them to indoor exercise playgroups such as Yappy Hour and others at AHS.
Helpful tips for outdoor pets:
- Outdoor pets MUST have shelter to protect them from the elements. The shelter should be elevated so that moisture cannot collect inside and large enough for your pet to stand up in and turn around, yet small enough to retain body heat. A layer of wood shavings or hay will help your pet stay warm. Block the doorway with canvas to keep out drafts. In severe weather, allow your pet to be in your house or garage.
- Check for frostbite, especially on paws and ears.
- Keep an eye out for and clean up all antifreeze spills, even one lick of the sweet-tasting fluid can be fatal to an animal.
- Cats have been known to climb into vehicle engines for warmth. Knock on the hood of your car before starting the engine if you suspect a cat could be inside.
- Make sure your pet has water in its bowl and replace if it freezes.
- Watch for signs of hypothermia -- weak pulse, dilated pupils, decreased heart rate, extreme shivering, pale or blue mucous membranes, body temperature below 95 degrees, stupor and unconsciousness -- and get your pet to a vet immediately.
The most important thing you can do for your pet is to keep them safe and warm indoors with the family.