This week, temperatures dropped dangerously low for some outdoor animals. While the weather forecast for the next few weeks isn’t as bitterly cold, there are still risks for pets and other animals struggling in the elements.
One thing you can do for any outdoor animal is to provide a shelter that is dry, draft-free, a few inches off the ground, and small enough to conserve the pet’s body heat. A friend cuts a six-inch hole in one side of a Styrofoam cooler and places a piece of burlap over the hole. She never uses blankets as bedding, as they contain moisture, which can condense in cold temperatures. She also does not use hay, which is a poor insulator, and can retain moisture and mold. Instead she uses straw Which has a cushioning effect and is more comfortable. My friend also keeps water and food inside. Plastic Bowls (not metal bowls, as they can freeze).
Even a house pet may need some extra care, especially a dog that goes outside to relieve itself. Get outside with your pets – When it’s too cold to be outside, it might be time to bring your furry friend back inside, too. It may be a good idea to wipe your paws with a damp rag to remove salt or other chemicals used to melt snow and ice on the sidewalk or road.
Another common winter hazard to our furry friends is antifreeze. Its sweet taste attracts pets and other animals and even children. Many people don’t realize that antifreeze can be deadly. Ethylene glycol in antifreeze can damage many body organs and even the central nervous system. Handle antifreeze as you would any household chemical – keep it out of reach and clean up spills. Consider using products formulated with propylene glycol, which is not as toxic.
At this time of year, when the weather can be uncomfortable – it’s up to you to keep your beloved family members safe and warm, when it comes to pets.