Protect your pet from the cold

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 3, 2006

By Dee Amberg, Vice president, Humane Society of Freeborn County

Now that the cold weather season is upon us, here are some tips to keep your cats and dogs safe.

Most dogs and all cats are safer indoors. Don&8217;t leave dogs outdoors when the temperature drops.

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Regardless of the season short-haired, very young or old dogs and all cats should never be left outside without supervision. A sweater on a short-coated dog may feel more comfortable during walks.

The use of a proper dog house is a must for an outside dog. The dog house should be dry, draft free, large enough for the dog to sit and lie down in, but also small enough to hold in the dogs body heat. The dog house should face away from the cold wind, the entrance should be covered by plastic or waterproof burlap. The floor should be covered in straw or cedar shavings, it should also be off the cold ground a few inches. Remember wind chill can be deadly to a pet, they must have proper protection.

Pets who spend a lot of time outdoors in the winter will deplete their energy faster keeping warm, therefore they will need more food. Use plastic bowls for food and water, remember to check the water often to make sure it has not frozen, you may also want to use heated bowls for water in the winter.

Keep cats indoors, outdoor cats can freeze, become lost or stolen, injured or killed.

Warm engines in parked cars attract cats and small wildlife, before starting your car or truck bang loudly on the hood, then wait a few seconds giving the animal a chance to escape.

Wipe your pets paws, legs and stomach after walking, salt and other chemicals can hurt your pet if ingested while licking their paws.

Never leave your dog or cat alone in a parked vehicle during cold weather. A vehicle can act as a refrigerator during the winter holding in the cold. Your companion animal can freeze to death.

Antifreeze has a sweet taste that may attract animals. Wipe up all spills and store out of reach. Antifreeze even in small doses is deadly poison to cats and dogs. Consider using antifreeze with propylene glycol, which is animal friendly. If you suspect your pet has been poisoned contact your local veterinarian immediately.

Animal cruelty is a felony in Minnesota. Please help prevent animal cruelty by reporting any suspected abuse or neglect to your local humane society or local law enforcement center. Remember we can not be everywhere, we rely on you to be our eyes and ears.

Pet overpopulation is a serious problem in America. Please spay and neuter your pets.