posted on Monday, January 06, 2014
Keeping Pets Safe in Frigid Weather
During this period of extremely cold temperatures and dangerous wind chills, the Champaign County Humane Society urges all pet owners to bring their pets inside and exercise the utmost caution when exposing pets to the cold. Pets rely on their owners to keep them safe and warm during cold weather.
If it's too cold outside for you, it's too cold for your pets.
KEEP PETS INSIDE
Don't leave your pets outside for prolonged periods of time. Limit time outdoors and be mindful of frostbite on ears, tail, and paws. Runners: Remember that while running, your dog’s paws and extremities will still be exposed and subject to frostbite.
PROVIDE ADEQUATE SHELTER
Adequate shelter is mandated by law. If your dog lives outdoors, at a minimum, you must provide a well-insulated and draft-free doghouse as well as access to unfrozen water and food. Your dog-house opening should face south with a sturdy, flexible covering to prevent icy winds from entering. Line the floors of the shelter with straw (towels and blankets can become damp or freeze, making the space colder). If you need assistance in providing shelter to your outdoor pets, contact Humane Investigator/Educator, Clay Foley at 217-344-7297.
In extreme conditions, the only way to keep your pet safe will be to move him/her into a garage or other heated shelter.
DRY OFF WET PETS
A wet pet is a cold pet. Towel or blow-dry your pet if he gets wet from rain or snow. Also, it is important to clean and dry paws to prevent tiny cuts and cracked pads.
PROVIDE PLENTY OF FOOD AND WATER
If your pet spends a lot of time playing or working outdoors, provide extra calories. Also, your pet is just as likely to get dehydrated in the winter as in the summer, so be sure to provide plenty of fresh water and refill outside bowls often to prevent freezing. Snow is not a substitute for water.
EXERCISE CAUTION WITH SPACE HEATERS
We all want to keep our pets warm, dry, and away from drafts while inside. But space heaters and other supplemental heat sources can burn your pet. Keep portable heaters out of reach and make sure all fireplaces have adequate screening. Never leave your pet alone with access to a space heater or unattended fire.
GROOMING and COLD WEATHER ACCESSORIES
Your pet needs a well-groomed coat to keep him properly insulated. Short- or coarse-haired dogs might get extra cold so consider a sweater or a coat. Paw-boots can protect your pet’s paws from irritating salt and the formation of ice-balls between the toes, but they will not prevent frostbite in extreme conditions. Keep paw hair trimmed on long-haired dog to minimize snow collection and help keep paws dry.
BEWARE OF ANTIFREEZE AND ROCK SALT
Snow-melting products like rock salt can irritate footpads. Be sure to rinse and dry your pet's feet after exposure to harsh salts. Pet stores often carry pet-safe ice melts that do the job and won’t harm your pets.
Antifreeze often collects on driveways and roadways. Although it smells and tastes sweet to your pet, it is lethally poisonous. If you suspect your pet has ingested antifreeze, contact your veterinarian immediately!
Thank you for taking measures to ensure the safety of your pets during the intense cold and snow.
If you see an animal in distress, contact your local Police or Animal Control Department, or the Champaign County Humane Society at 217-344-7297