LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – There’s a winter storm headed our way. Humans won’t be the only ones affected by the snow and ice, our furry friends can also be seriously hurt or even killed by cold and snowy conditions.
To help keep your four-legged friends warm this winter, the Humane Society has gathered five winter safety tips.
Keep your pets sheltered.
This is an obvious one, but it’s just that important. Keep your pets indoors. Pet cats should never be let out during the winter. Ideally, they shouldn’t be let outside at all, but if you have an indoor/outdoor cat, keep them inside for the winter.
Your dog should stay inside most of the time, but make sure it gets proper exercise and has time to use the bathroom outdoors. Supervised walks are best. Don’t leave your dog outside alone for very long.
If you must leave Fido outdoors, make sure they have a dry, draft-free shelter that has enough room for your pet but is small enough that it retains body heat.
“The floor should be raised a few inches from the ground and covered with cedar shavings or straw. The doorway should be covered with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic,” said the Humane Society.
Outdoor pets will need more food as staying warm depletes energy. DO NOT USE METAL DISHES. Your pooch’s tongue can get stuck to the frozen metal. Use plastic instead.
Bundle up and wipe down.
Windchill can be deadly to pets. Cover exposed skin with pet clothing. Make sure your pet’s paws aren’t walking on rock salt as that can irritate their feet. Wipe down their paws before they lick them and irritate their mouths. If your dog eats rock salt, call the vet immediately.
Remove common poisons.
Antifreeze tastes sweet to pets and kids, but it’s deadly. Wipe up any spills immediately and keep the container away from kids and pets.
Protect outdoor animals.
Are there any outdoor animals in your community? If so, you may want to make shelters for them. You can make a cat shelter with a plastic tub. Make sure stray cats aren’t sleeping in your car’s wheel or hood. Bang on your car’s hood with your fist to scare away any critters that may be taking a nap there.
“Be sure your horses have access to a barn or a three-sided run-in so they can escape the wind and cold. While not all horses will need to be blanketed, blankets will help horses keep warm and dry, especially if there is any rain or snow. If you`ve body-clipped your horses, keep them blanketed throughout the winter,” said the Humane Society.
“Give your horses access to unfrozen water at all times. You can use heated buckets or water heaters/de-icers to make sure the water doesn`t freeze. Also, be sure to feed your horses more forage in unlimited amounts, if possible during extreme cold. This will help your horses create heat and regulate their body temperatures.”
If you see an animal left in the cold, let the owner know you’re concerned. If the person refuses to help the animal or responds poorly, call your local animal control office and report the neglect.