MIAMI VALLEY — Colder temperatures are moving into the Miami Valley, and they can affect any living thing, not just people.
The Humane Society of the United States urges those dealing with these dangerous weather conditions to take steps to keep pets and animals safe.
Keep pets in shelters:
The Humane Society shares cold weather safety tips for animals:
- Pet cats should not be left outside in freezing temperatures, even if they roam outside in other seasons.
- If pet dogs are outside for long periods of time, they should be protected from a dry, draft-free shelter.
- Check your pet’s water dish regularly to make sure it is not frozen.
- When temperatures are low, use plastic food and water bowls so your pet’s tongue doesn’t stick to the metal and freeze.
Bundle up, wipe down:
- No matter the temperature, drafts can be life-threatening for pets.
- Exposed skin or pads of the nose, ears and paws are at risk of frostbite and hypothermia.
- Rock salt and other chemicals that melt snow and ice can irritate your pet’s paw pads. Clean their paws with a damp towel.
Avoid common toxins:
- Antifreeze is a deadly poison but has a taste that can attract animals.
- Clean up any antifreeze spillage immediately and keep it out of reach.
- Coolants and antifreeze made with propylene glycol are less toxic to pets, wildlife and families.
- Dogs are at risk of salt poisoning in the winter because they often lick their paws. Dogs can get rock salt on their paws after a walk or time outside.
- Call a veterinarian if your dog ingests rock salt.
Protect outdoor animals:
- Build outdoor shelters
- Flap the hood of your car so that any small hiding animals can escape before starting your engine.
- Make sure your horses have access to a barn or three-sided run-in so they can escape the wind and cold.
- Consider blanketing your horse as it helps keep them warm and dry.
- Make sure your horses have access to unfrozen water at all times. Use hot buckets or water heaters/deicers.
- Feed your horses more forage, unlimited amounts if possible, as this helps them generate heat and regulate their body temperature.
- If you see a pet left in extreme temperatures, politely let the owner know you’re concerned.
- If they don’t change, contact your local animal resource center or law enforcement agency for suggestions on what to do.
“In extremely cold conditions like we’re seeing across much of the country this week, it’s important to protect pets from freezing temperatures and wind chills and to educate animals about hazards such as rock salt and antifreeze,” ” said Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States.