Porky & Buddy’s Pet Health: Winter and Your Pets

Dear Porky and Buddy,

Winter is coming and I’d like to know whether there are some things I should watch out for to keep my pets safe?


Dear Cheryl,

Brrr! We are strictly couch potato pets, if you must know, but even we go outside sometimes during the winter, for (ahem) the usual reasons,so here is what we would advise.

1. Keep your cat inside as much as possible. Outdoors, cats can freeze, become lost or be stolen, injured or killed. Every winter the Humane Society rescues at least one cat with frostbite on her ears. It is not a pretty picture

2. 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 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. Never let your dog 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.

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.

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.

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 opt to paper-train 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. 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.

Looking for a new pet to keep you warm? The Home 4 the Holidays Adoption Day is Sunday November 13th, from 11 to 4 at the Oswego YMCA Armory in Oswego. You can meet many pets for adoption. We will also have an open house where you can see our spay/neuter clinic and hear about our other programs, have some refreshments, buy some holiday reading at our book sale, buy some Thanksgiving treats at our bake sale, have a photo taken of your pet with Santa, and meet many of our staff and volunteers. There will also be other animal welfare groups to meet and adopt from, as well as dog training demonstrations and exhibitions. And lots of activities for kids. We hope to see you there.

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 is located at 265 West First Street, Oswego, New York. Phone (315) 207-1070. Email: [email protected] Website: www.oswegohumane.org.