Dear Porky and Buddy,
I just looked at the weather prediction for the next couple of weeks and it’s not going above 30 degrees for days. Goofy, my Husky mix, couldn’t be happier. But Bubba, my little Pitbull mix, is crossing his legs and begging me to just this once to not make him go outside to do his business. He keeps eyeing the cat’s litter box as if he’s thinking, “That’s not such a bad idea.”
Are there any special things I should know about taking care of my pets when it gets this cold. I love being outside in this weather, but I also know how to open the door and let myself back in and I have jackets and boots.
We were sort of hoping that between climate change and all the hot air that has been expended lately, our winter this year would be mercifully brief.
But, alas, not so far.
So once again, we need to talk about the special challenges for pet owners that winter weather presents. Fortunately, most of the basic rules for keeping your pets safe and healthy in winter are just plain common sense.
If you can, keep your cats inside. Cats left outdoors in this weather can freeze, become lost or be stolen, injured or killed. If your cats do go outside, make sure that you monitor how long they are out and get them back in.
During the winter, outdoor cats sometimes sleep under the hoods of cars. When the motor is started, the cat can be injured or killed by the fan belt. If your cat or other cats in your area are outdoors, bang loudly on the car hood before starting the engine to give the cat a chance to escape.
Never let your dogs 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.
Carefully wipe off your dogs’ paws, legs, and stomach when they come in out of the sleet, snow or ice.
They can ingest salt, antifreeze or other potentially dangerous chemicals while licking their paws and their paw pads may also bleed from snow or encrusted ice.
Never shave any dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth.
When you bathe your dogs in the colder months, be sure to completely dry them before taking them out for a walk.
Because Bubba a short-haired breed, consider getting him a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly. Yes, he will probably look ridiculous, but how do you look in your weird puffy jackets? And because Bubba is sensitive to the cold because of his breed type, take him outdoors only to relieve himself and bring him right back in.
Does Goofy like to spend a lot of time engaged in outdoor activities? Increase his supply of food, particularly protein, to keep him and his fur in good shape.
If he spends time by himself in your yard, make sure he has an appropriate outdoor shelter. Yes, even Husky dogs need that shelter, even if they mostly disdain it.
And besides. New York State law requires it.
Some other things to worry about: Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death.
Antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle, and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol.
Finally, make sure all your pets have 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.
And in our opinion, a nice comfy couch or, at least during blizzards, your bed is even better!
The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County.
Located: at 29 W. Seneca St., Oswego, NY.
Phone: (315) 2,07-1070.
Email: [email protected]
Because People and Pets Are Good for Each Other