When cold temps hit the Midwest, they hit hard and it doesn’t look like they’re going anywhere any time soon. Here are six winter pet safety tips to keep in mind through the winter months.
#1: Whenever possible, keep your pets inside
It’s easy to look at pets and think, well they have fur so they’ll be fine. That is not the case though. Pets are sensitive to cold temperatures and they’re ears, noses and paw pads can freeze quickly. Also, if an animal’s fur gets wet, it loses much of its ability to insulate properly.
So if you have an indoor-outdoor cat, keep them inside and don’t leave dogs outside for extend periods of time.
#2 Have a dry, draft free shelter
When your animals need to be outside (or if you have cats that aren’t tame enough to be indoors), make sure they have a dry, draft free shelter to go in to. This should be large enough for the animal to stand and sit comfortably but small enough to hold in their body heat. Keep a close eye on the bedding or flooring that you have in the shelter and make sure it stays dry.
#3 Plenty of water
Regularly check your pet’s water bowl to make sure it has fresh water and isn’t frozen. Remember to use plastic bowls instead of metal as your pet’s tongue can stick and freeze to the bowls.
#4 Protect from salt and chemicals
Salt, antifreeze and other chemicals used to melt snow can be very dangerous to pets. After taking your dog for a walk, thoroughly wipe off his or her paws with a damp towel. This will keep them from ingesting the materials as well as keep their paw pads protected.
#5 Bang on vehicles to alert sleeping animals
Warm car engines are a tempting place for cats and other small animals to curl up for a nap or escape from the cold. Before starting your engine, make sure to knock on your vehicles hood to scare out any hidden animals. This will give them a chance to run out before they get hurt by moving belts.
And lastly, #6 Report pets you see left out in the cold
If you come across a pet that has been left out in the cold, please contact animal control or one of the local shelters. Make sure you document what you see - date, time, exact location, type of animal - and take photos or video. After you’ve reported the incident, don’t be afraid to follow-up again if the situation hasn’t been resolved in a few days.
If you have any other tips for keeping your pets warm this winter please share them below in the comments section. Also, feel free to post photos of how your pet is keeping warm on the Dig Omaha Facebook page.