Midwest winter is in full swing and with the bad weather of the past two weeks outside temperatures can be dangerous for both humans and animals.
It’s a reminder to take precautions to keep your pets safe during the colder months, and what you can do if you’re concerned about an animal’s health.
With freezing temperatures in our forecast, it is extremely important to bring outdoor dogs indoors. The most common winter hazard for dogs is hypothermia, which is a severe drop in core body temperature due to prolonged exposure to low temperatures.
Lethargy, chills, shallow breathing, stiff muscles and a low heart rate are symptoms of hypothermia. Winter weather can also cause chapped and irritated skin, dry skin and dehydration.
If you have no choice but to let your dog outside, they should always have access to adequate shelter and fresh (not frozen) water. The shelter should be insulated with dry bedding such as straw to keep warm and provide protection from freezing winds.
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Blankets should not be used as they will collect water and freeze. Older dogs, malnourished dogs, and dogs with any medical conditions should not be left out.
The same principles apply to our feline friends. DIY outdoor cat shelters are easy to make, relatively inexpensive, and there are endless ideas available online. Consider insulating the shelter to keep the space warmer to protect the cats from the elements.
Cats may be better outdoor hunters than dogs, but that doesn’t mean finding food in the winter is easy. When prey may be in short supply, make sure outdoor cats have plenty of food as well as fresh, unfrozen water. To prevent water from freezing, consider using an electric kettle.
If you see a pet in distress within the city of Council Bluffs, contact Council Bluffs Animal Control at 712-328-4656. If you are in Pottawattamie County, please call Pottawattamie County Animal Control at 712-366-1143.
If you need to contact Animal Control after hours, you can call the non-emergency police line at 712-328-5737 and an on-call officer may be dispatched. As a reminder, Midlands Humane Society does not control animals and does not have the ability to dispatch officers.
The recent temperatures we have been experiencing in Iowa are alarming. Never hesitate to contact Animal Control with any concerns you may have.
MHS Pets of the Week brought to you by Gale and Judy Wickersham:
Ferre Speed is a 4-year-old female boxer mix who will be with MHS for one year on February 23rd. She is a gentle girl who loves to be with her people. Feyre has lived with other dogs, but seems to prefer being a single, spoiled dog. She is currently living in a foster home and helps keep the kitchen floor clean, the couch warm, and is the best cuddler in bed. Let’s get this girl home before her one year birthday at MHS.
Finch is a 1-year-old neutered male Lab/Basenji mix who came to MHS as a stray. He is full of energy and will love an active family that will bring him along on all their adventures. He can be picky with his canine friends because we don’t think he has much experience interacting with them properly. Finch can be shy on introduction but turns into a wiggle-bit when he warms up.
Klaus A 4-year-old neutered male German Shepherd mix who is big and in charge. This friend weighs 102 pounds and needs some exercise to help shed a few pounds. Klaus is friendly but can be shy around new people, so patience is key to his heart. He has lived successfully with other dogs but must be adopted to a cat-free home.
April Spade is a 7-year-old female domestic shorthair who can’t wait to get out of the shelter environment and into a home. April can easily be overwhelmed by all the sights, smells and sounds of MHS and hide as you walk by. But give her a minute to adjust and she’s coming to demand attention. After all, this girl just needs to enter a house with a patient owner who will make her fit her mood and reveal her true loving personality.
MHS is open on weekdays from noon to 6 p.m. and on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. MHS will be closed for staff meetings on Wednesday, January 17.