CLEARFIELD – Pet owners are urged to take extra precautions during winter months. These tips will help to ensure the safety of companion animals. According to the Humane Society of the United States, you can help your pets remain happy and healthy during the colder months by following these simple guidelines.
You shouldn’t leave dogs outdoors when the temperature drops. Most dogs, and all cats, are safer indoors. Regardless of the season, shorthaired, very young, or old dogs and all cats 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 dog or cat is happiest and healthiest when kept indoors. If your dog is an outdoor dog, however, he/she must be protected by a dry, draft-free doghouse that is large enough to allow the dog to sit and lie down comfortably, but small enough to hold in his/her body heat.
The floor should be raised a few inches off the ground and covered with cedar shavings or straw – not a blanket, which can absorb moisture and freeze. The house should be turned to face away from the wind, and the doorway should be covered with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic.
Pets that spend a lot of time outdoors need more food in the winter because keeping warm depletes energy. You should routinely check your pet’s water dish to make certain the water is fresh and unfrozen. You should use plastic food and water bowls rather than metal; when the temperature is low, your pet’s tongue can stick and freeze to metal. You need to be careful with cars and trucks.
Warm engines in parked vehicles attract cats and small wildlife that may crawl up under the hood to get warm. To avoid injuring any hidden animals, you should bang on your vehicle’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. You should wipe all paws 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. You should wipe up spills and store antifreeze out of reach. Better yet, you should use antifreeze-coolant made with propylene glycol; if swallowed in small amounts, it will not hurt pets, wildlife, or your family.
Dogs and cats are social animals that crave human companionship. Your animal companions deserve to live indoors with you and your family if possible.
The Animal Welfare Council has bales of straw and sturdy insulated dog houses available to support outdoor pets. The new location of the
Animal Welfare Council/Allegheny Spay & Neuter Clinic is 1380 Shawville Hwy. in Woodland.
For more information about obtaining straw and dog houses, call 814-857-5282, 814-592-4469 or 814-592-7407.