Monday, October 19, 2009

Cold Weather Tips for Pet Owners

It's that time of year again when water bowls left outside can fill with autumn leaves or freeze. Doghouses need "winterizing," cleaning and replacing bedding to stave off the chill of autumn and winter. Doghouses should be up off the ground with at least a pallet/skid between the floor of the doghouse and the cold/damp/frozen ground.

Everyone wants a warm place to sleep in wintertime, a place that's cozy, comfy and not drafty

Shorthaired dogs may need extra calories if they spend much time outdoors, because they do not have the thick winter coats of Siberian huskies or Alaskan Malamutes.

Water should be clean, available and in liquid form

Water bowls, unless heated, need to be monitored regularly. When temperatures dip below freezing -- and when they stay that way more often than not -- your outside pets need water that is not rimmed with ice or frozen solid. Eating snow lowers your pet's core temperature. Yes, animals with hair can and do freeze to death.

When snow and ice become a factor, check things like doggie paws (for ice and/or snow that can pack in between the pads and make your dog sore and/or lame). Older and/or less active dogs should receive correspondingly more warm bedding and "care checks."

For those with outside cats -- even though some cats tend to be more self-sufficient than most dogs -- kittens and elderly cats need more groceries and a supply of non-frozen water. A place 'out of the weather' that's kept just for them -- a box with nice, warm bedding -- is appreciated.

Care Checks

For those great-hearted folks that check on and care for homeless dogs and/or cats, a huge thank you! This is the time of year when unplanned, unwanted litters of puppies and kittens suffer most from the elements -- and why spaying/neutering is a lifesaver. Eartips can get frostbitten; a minor summer cold can spell death in the winter months.

Help make this winter an enjoyable, healthy one for the dogs and cats that look to you for their needs!