AC Pup: Keep pets safe and warm this winter

January 17, 2014 

January is the perfect month to set the pace for the entire year. This is the season folks seem to clean out closets, organize drawers and get chores done that were put off during the holidays.

So I thought it would be a good idea to suggest that while you’re getting everything in good shape for the new year, it would be wise to add anything related to pet care to your list of items to check. After all, you want your fur baby to be in great shape and in the best health he can be.

Pets need special attention during the winter months. Cold weather can be really uncomfortable for pets and maybe even dangerous if adequate accommodations are not made.

When at all possible, please bring pets inside during the cold weather. I know many animal-loving people have multiple animals and cannot bring them all inside. In that case, please make arrangements to offer warm, dry shelter complete with blankets, hay or other material to keep them warm. There are also wonderful pet coats that help, too.

If you are caring for small outside animals, especially feral cats, there are unique ways to offer them shelter and warmth. One really effective way is to purchase inexpensive Styrofoam coolers, cut an opening on the side, insulate the inside with material that will hold in warmth, put drainage holes in the bottom and tape the top of the cooler so it will be one unit.

There are very easy instructions online to do this. It would be a terrific project for kids to do and a wonderful lesson in teaching them to care about the animals.

While we’re talking about taking care of outside cats, one of the most important winter tips I can share is to check to make sure there are no kitties under the hood of your car before cranking it. Kitties have a tendency to seek out heat from a warm car engine during the winter.

While the car engine does provide heat on a cold night, the kitties typically fall fast asleep and are unaware that a car is going to be cranked. So please, before you crank your car, either beat on the hood or honk the horn. Make any noise you can to scare the kitty out from under the hood.

Another critical winter tip to remember is to keep animals away from antifreeze. Unfortunately, this liquid is very tasty to animals but also very deadly. In fact it only takes a minute amount to be fatal. Please check your vehicles to make sure there are no antifreeze leaks.

Winter can be challenging to pets, but with a little thought you can help make it more tolerable and safe for animals in our area.

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