Dear Porky and Buddy,
Winter is here, and as much as I love to be outdoors in the snow, I’’d like to know whether there are some things I should watch out for to keep my pets safe so that we can all enjoy ourselves.
Brrr! We are strictly couch potato pets, if you must know. But, even we go outside sometimes during the winter. So here is what we would advise.
1. Keep your cats inside all the time, or, if you must, limit their outdoor time as much as possible. Outdoors, cats can freeze, become lost or be stolen, injured or killed. They really do better indoors.
2. During the winter, outdoor cats sometimes sleep under the hoods of cars in an effort to stay warm. When the motor is started, the cat can be injured or killed by the fan belt. If there are outdoor cats in your area, bang loudly on the car hood before starting the engine to give the cat a chance to escape.
3. Many dogs love to play in the snow and that’s a good thing. But never let your dog off the leash 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.
4. Carefully wipe off your dog’s legs and stomach when he comes in out of the sleet, snow or ice. He can ingest salt, antifreeze or other potentially dangerous chemicals while licking his paws, and his paw pads may also bleed from snow or encrusted ice. Just keep an old towel by the door and it will become a habit for you and him.
5. Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth. When you bathe your dog in the colder months, be sure to completely dry him before taking him out for a walk. If you own 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. For many dogs, this is regulation winter wear. They don’t mind looking silly.
6. 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. It’s the reverse of the hot car problem in the summer and just as deadly.
7. Puppies do not tolerate the cold as well as adult dogs, and may be difficult to house-train during the winter. If your puppy appears to be sensitive to the weather, you may want to consider paper-training him inside. If your dog is sensitive to the cold due to age, illness or breed type, take him outdoors only to relieve himself.
8. If your dog spends a lot of time engaged in outdoor activities, increase his supply of food, particularly protein, to keep him —and his fur —in good shape.
9. We’ve talked about this just recently, but it doesn’t hurt to repeat. 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.
10. Make sure your pet has 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. Couches and human beds are also nice.
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.
Our office has relocated to 110 W. Second St., Oswego, NY.
Phone: (315) 207-1070.
Email: [email protected]
Because People and Pets Are Good for Each Other!
And speaking of people and pets, the annual Home 4 the Holidays Celebration is set for Saturday from noon to 3 p.m. at the Oswego Moose Lodge, 134 W. Oneida St., Oswego.
Pets to adopt, sweets and baked goods and used books to buy, all to help you get through the winter, and animal organizations to meet.
Pet photos with Santa.
No admission charge – just a lot of fun!
Plus . . . don’t forget that Love & Affection are 50% off through all of December when you adopt a cat one year or older.
Adoption fees slashed to only $25 for certified pre-owned cats!