Pets Informative - ***Preparing your pets for winter***

Review by Skye on 2007-11-09
FROM THE HUMANE SOCIETY -- As temperatures lower in autumn, all animals prepare to stay warm. But before pet owners give in to their instincts and curl up by the first fires of the season, here are some tips for caring for Spot and friends.

People put dogs outside in the winter because they think dogs enjoy themselves, but most dogs want to spend time with people. When they don’t, they’ll develop behavioral issues. These are the reasons they may have been put outside in the first place.”

Vigilance on the part of the pet owner is paramount to pets’ safety. Knowing the signs of hypothermia, which include shivering, pale or blue gums, enlarged pupils, a decreased heart rate, and a body temperature below 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

“Unless your breed is a breed that was bred for really cold weather, I don’t think it’s ridiculous for dogs or cats to wear coats or booties in extreme weather. What one person thinks is frivolous, another person may think necessary. If you have the funds to pamper your pet, I see nothing wrong with that. They are part of the family, and we love them just the same, and in some cases, maybe even more then some relatives??

Talk to your veterinarian about any additional medications your pet might need in the winter and keep a steady supply of these medications in the house in case of a power outage. Especially at risk during colder months are very young or very old animals, animals with chronic conditions, animals with short hair and outdoor pets.

If pets are to remain outdoors in the winter, “keep old towels or a mat by the door so that every time you bring your animal in, you can rub it with a towel to dry off.“Owners need to be aware of any chemicals that are laid on the ground to melt ice and snow, because they can get between the toes of hairy animals. Always check their paws when you bring them inside and remove anything that might be stuck between their toes.” Dog paws can get frostbite. Dog booties can even be an option.

Dog houses should have just enough room for man’s best friend to stand up and turn around, but no more. They should face away from the wind and be elevated from the ground.

“Don’t keep towels on the ground inside or anything you think the dog might want to (lie) on-that draws their body heat away and keeps them cold.

Staying active with pets can be challenging in harsh weather. Good substitutes would be pet day care, play dates or long rides in the car.

If you run with your dog, make sure he is in condition. Dogs will keep going. They’ll try to keep up with you, so it’s important not to overdo it. If you’re uncomfortable, chances are your dog is going to be uncomfortable. An alternative to running with your dog outside would be throwing a ball down a long hallway.

As for cats, they are safest kept indoors and that winter is the perfect time to train an outdoor cat to be an indoor one. This is done by moving the cat’s food bowl further and further from the door each time he or she comes inside. Once the cat is used to an indoor environment, entertainment is crucial.

Bird feeders are “like kitty TV.”

When it’s time to travel for the holidays, consider your pet’s individual needs. They should be checked on once a day if left at home.

Remember, no matter what some of the so called "experts" say, our pets are beloved members of our families, and we want them to have long, healthy and happy lives.

And one more thing, please, please watch out for leaking antifreeze. Clean up any spots on the driveway, or in the garage, with kitty litter. Dogs and cats like the taste, being as its sweet to them. They will lick this up, and it will cause renal failure (kidney), and eventually death, if treatment is not provided immediately. I don't believe in anthromorphizing my pets, but they are so precious to us. They give us unconditonal love, and its up to us, to keep them, healthy, happy and safe.
Comments:11 Replies - Latest reply on 2007-11-10
Posted by S on 2007-11-09:
Thanks Skye! We are about to embark on our first winter with our new puppy... though he'll be indoors most the time, it is good information to know!
Posted by D. on 2007-11-09:
Skye is the guardian angel for all animals...Thanks Skye!
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-11-09:
Excellent post, Skye. I have one dog that LOVES the cold, and another that would prefer to keep her time outdoors(during winter) at a minimum.
Posted by Arlene on 2007-11-09:
Great post Skye, we have semi-long haired chihuahuas and we do live in South Sentral Eriaona but winters are quite cold here even though it doesn't snow. Each of the dogs has a quilted jacket that was bought at Wal-Mart for under $8 each...if we leave early in the morning, they wear their jackets, I have lighter weight vests for them on not so cold days. You have to make sure they don't overheat either. If your pets travel with you, make sure you have extra water and a clean dish for them.

Our pets can't tell you what hurts, wrongs wrong when they are sick, or that food and water dishes are empty. To many of us they are like our young children who are too young to talk...they can't tell you what's wrong either.

Again, thanks Skye, everyone needs reminded occasionally.
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-11-09:
Thanks Skye and this does work for Cats too right? I just took mine two weeks ago to get shots. They don't like the car or the doctor but what was funny was Mr. Jack the biggest and the toughest was the biggest baby about the whole thing, he was too funny!
Posted by Skye on 2007-11-09:
Well if the cats don't like the car, then maybe you can buy them lots of extra toys, and rotate them on a daily basis, so they think they are getting new stuff all the time.

Poor Mr. Jack, I understand. At the animal hospital, it was always those gigantic Maine coons that were the, fraidy cats. It's stressful for any animals to go to the vet. The smells alone and being in a strange place, is stressful for any animal. You're a good dad :)
Posted by Skye on 2007-11-09:
Thank you everyone. I have voted you all "very helpful" of course.
Posted by jktshff1 on 2007-11-10:
Great point Skye
Posted by jktshff1 on 2007-11-10:
Posted by Nohandle on 2007-11-10:
Excellent advice Skye. For those members who simply won't allow an animal in their home at least open the storage room or laundry room door. Just because an animal has a fur coat doesn't mean that animal is prepared for the elements. We walk out all bundled up, yet still get cold and can suffer from frostbite. When it gets really cold here the announcer on the radio station I listen to most reminds individuals to bring in their pets. It shouldn't come to that but some need a friendly wake up call.
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-11-10:
Great info Skye. Our little girl runs the house, I wish I had her life. Bought her a sheepskin rug for this winter.

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