Keep Pets Safe When The Thermometer Dips
Cold Weather tips from the Humane Society of Missouri
With winter quickly approaching, the Humane Society of Missouri urges all pet owners to please bring their pets inside. Pets rely on people to help them stay warm when the weather is cold. If it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for your pet.
BRING YOUR PET INSIDE: Don’t leave your pet outside in the cold for long periods of time. Wind chill makes the air colder than actual temperature readings. Be attentive to your pet’s body temperature and limit time outdoors, especially to prevent frostbite on ears, tail and feet. If you run with your dog, be attentive to cold paws and leave Fido at home if it gets too cold. Always keep your Kitty inside. It’s the law in the City of St. Louis. Furthermore, “outside” cats are often the victims of cars, dogs, other predators and inhumane people.
ACCLIMATE YOUR PET TO COLD WEATHER: If your pet will spend a lot of time outdoors, make sure to gradually provide exposure to dropping temperatures, instead of exposing them to the extreme cold all at once.
PROVIDE ADEQUATE SHELTER: Adequate shelter is mandatory by law. If your dog lives outdoors, you must provide a well-insulated and draft-free doghouse. The opening should face south with a sturdy, flexible covering to prevent icy winds from entering. Keep straw (NOT hay) inside the doghouse. Avoid towels and blankets which can easily dampen and make the space colder.
BEWARE OF ANTIFREEZE AND ROCK SALT: Antifreeze, which often collects on driveways and roadways, is highly poisonous. Although it smells and tastes good to your pet — it is lethal. If you suspect your pet has ingested antifreeze, contact your veterinarian immediately! Rock salt, used to melt ice on sidewalks, can irritate footpads. Be sure to rinse and dry your pet’s feet after being outside. Pet store often carry pet-safe ice melts that still do the job, but won’t harm your pets.
DRY OFF WET PETS: Towel or blow-dry your pet if he gets wet from rain or snow. It is important to dry and clean his paws to prevent tiny cuts and cracked pads.
PROVIDE PLENTY OF FOOD AND WATER: It takes more energy in the winter to keep body temperature regulated, so your pet needs additional calories if he spends a lot of time outdoors or is a working animal. Also, provide plenty of fresh water. Your pet is just as likely to get dehydrated in the winter as in the summer. Snow is not a substitute for water. Outside water bowls will freeze; refill outside bowls often.
CAREFULLY KEEP PETS WARM INSIDE: Keep your pets warm, dry and away from drafts while inside. Tiles and uncarpeted areas might become very cold; place blankets and pads on floors in these areas. Be careful of supplemental heat sources. Make sure all fireplaces have screens and keep portable heaters out of reach.
GROOM REGULARLY: Your pet needs a well-groomed coat to keep him properly insulated. Short- or coarse-haired dogs might get extra cold; consider a sweater or a coat. Long-haired dogs should have their paw hair clipped to ease snow removal and the cleaning of their feet.
Humane Society of Missouri Interview Opportunities:
· Dr. Steven Schwartz, Director of Veterinary Medicine
· Cyndi Nason, Adoption Centers Director
· Kathy Warnick, President
To report an animal in distress, please call the Humane Society of Missouri at (314) 647-4400. For more information on how to care for your pets during the winter months, visit the Humane Society of Missouri website www.hsmo.org or